1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. (KJV)
This issue will be addressing the most disturbing and foundational characteristic of Mystery Babylon. MONEY. It has many names. Lettuce; dough; bread; moolah; bucks; greenbacks; and many more. It is described in the dictionary as:
mon-ey noun p lura / mon-eys or mon-ies
A commodity, such as gold, or an officially issued coin or paper note that is legally established as an exchangeable equivalent of all other commodities, such as goods and services, and is used as a measure of their comparative values on the market.
The official currency, coins, and negotiable paper notes issued by a government.
Assets and property considered in terms of monetary value; wealth.
Whatever you desire to call it, it spells trouble. No other single thing has ruined more lives, shipwrecked more souls, created more enemies and/or friends, started more wars, drove more people insane, than MONEY. It is something that we all have a need for, since we all have bills to be paid, groceries to buy, etc.. The trouble is, after our needs are met we continue to want more. Very rare is the person that thinks they have enough MONEY. Howard Hughes didn't, Sam Walton didn't, and neither does Bill Gates. It creates a fever, an itch that can't be satisfied. The more you get, the more you want. The more you want, the more you will do to get it. The odd thing about money is that you can't eat it, wear it, or put it to work, and yet it takes it to do all of the above. It is a note of exchange for goods and services. The more MONEY you have, the more goods and services you can have.
Revelation chapter 17 draws a picture of a woman that has certain outstanding characteristics. One characteristic is her outlandish and inordinate amount of wealth. She is rich beyond measure and is getting richer by the minute. One of the things that startled me as I read this particular chapter is how John the revelator is himself caught up in the spectacle of this great whore. So much so that John is rebuked by the angel when he "wonders with great admiration" at the sight of this dazzling woman. (verse 6). The angel confronts John with the question, "Wherefore didst thou marvel?" (verse 7). Obviously there is a concern on the angel's part that John is holding the woman in admiration. Indeed, it is a problem today. How could a system that seems to do so much good for people be Babylonian? We see the richness and slickness of the present Church System and we find ourselves enamored by it. So beautiful, so grand, so rich.
It is amazing how the Scriptures hit things right on the head and continue to do so throughout the different times and ages. Long ago the words were penned:
I Tim 6:5-11
5 supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil:-which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, 0 man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (KJV)
The term, "The love of money", means to let money become your dearest and closest friend. The bible says this love is the root of all evil. We can see this to be true in the modern church system. It used to be that the Catholic church was the prototype for Mystery Babylon as seen in Rev. 17. Don't look now, but the modern Fundamentalist church is the fastest growing religious group in the world. Mega-Churches are being built in every major city. The quicker they are built, the quicker they are filled up. Schools, orphanages, missionary works, foreign missions, are all being touted by the Fundamentalists, along with Political Action Committees, Christian Law Schools, Day Care Centers, Food Banks, Thrift Stores, you name it, the Church is involved in it. The sad thing is that for the most part, it is all big business, run to bring in the big bucks into the religious coffers.
I'll never forget the first time that I preached in a big-time church in Downy, CA. This was in the early 1970's and I was preaching the Sons of God and Restitution message at a little store-front church. It turned out that the people from the big church down the road started to hear die message and packed the little place out. After about a week of this, the pastor of the big church paid me a call and asked me to come to his church since most of his people were attending my services anyway. I prayed about it and the Lord told me to go. I was scared to death! T. L. Osborn was supposed to be following me the next week, and I hadn't ever preached to so many people at one time in my life. Like John, I was viewing all of this with great admiration. All the musicians were very professional, the people all dressed sharp, the pews were padded, the carpet was luxurious, the pastor and his wife looked like movie stars. I was in awe!
I proceeded to preach for a couple of nights and about the third night the pastor got me alone in his study. He started out by telling me he knew I was preaching Sons of God and Reconciliation and that he believed in this message himself, but he couldn't risk preaching it from the pulpit because he would lose his church. He then told me that he would like to sponsor me to start preaching on the big-time circuit, but I had to get some gimmicks incorporated into my ministry. He asked me if I couldn't start some orphanage somewhere just so that I could present it to the people as something to give to, the understanding being that the MONEY would never reach the fake orphanage but would be used for my own needs. He said that he admired my ministry and that I had great potential on the "circuit" of big churches he was affiliated with, but I had to do a lot of work on my offering taking. He said he would be willing to train me in the art of getting money out of the people, and before long I would be driving a big fancy car just like him and all the other big time evangelists. Needless to say I shut my meeting down with him and told him he wouldn't have to worry about losing his church because he had lost it already, along with any decency he might have had.
When I left that office I was so sick I had to struggle to keep from throwing up. MONEY! More preachers have sold their souls for it than for any other single thing. The reason is simple. MONEY in itself is not evil, such as an act of fornication, drunkenness, and other vices. Everyone needs MONEY and therein is the subtleness of it's seduction. Don't think I wasn't impressed with the splendor of that church, because I was! I actually thought God was going to allow my ministry to reach more people and that the message of life could be heard and believed upon by the masses. Along with this, I got to thinking that maybe I deserved to live a better lifestyle, since my wife and I had struggled with our finances for so many years, and after all, the laborer was worthy of a greater hire. My eyes were fixed on the wonder of the whore, and I was finding all kinds of justification for getting connected to the CIRCUIT! As a young evangelist, it was the invitation to the big dance, an offering of the big enchilada, I would have arrived at the top of the world!
The big wake-up call was when I realized what I would have to do in order to get that greater hire. Something happens to a person when confronted with riches. A change comes over us when put in a position of possible wealth. I know we all swear we would never change if we suddenly were made wealthy, but invariably we do. There is a root of evil in us all, and the bible declares it to be "the love of MONEY'! The church today has sold out His heavenly inheritance for a little earthly lucre. God has offered us a "far more exceeding weight of glory", but our eyes are filled with the things being offered to us by a seducing spirit that has convinced many a prophet to become her paid servant. Woe to the prophets that prophecy for MONEY, and do not speak the words that come from God.
The biggest money making machine in the modem Fundamental Church is the world-wide satellite TV networks. They run 24 hours every day and reach millions of people with the message, "Tis more blessed to give than to receive". I know they do good works and all of that. I know that they reach souls for the Lord, but with what hidden motives? They look like one big happy family on TV don't they? Smiling and joking and bragging on each other. Call me a cynic if you want to, but I would dare say the conversation off camera isn't quite so congenial. I would venture to say that their time is spent on the following questions. Who's No. I? Who's getting more air time than the other one? Who draws more money? Who gets more mail? Who's on the hosts right hand this week and who is on the left and who gets dropped because of poor ratings? Without question, these are the topics of discussion in the back rooms of the studios, and they involve positioning and posturing for the opportunity to make more MONEY.
Cutthroat competition is on the religious shows just as much as on the worldly shows. That's Entertainment!! And it is MONEY that speaks the loudest. When the bills come due, and we are talking millions of dollars here, then men and women do strange things to keep from losing the almighty dollar. Beg, borrow, and steal are just a few of the things. God help us all to guard against the stench of this Harlot system. Yes, they preach the word, they sing beautiful songs, they pray for the sick and the sick recover, but notice that nothing is done without the mention of MONEY! If we all knew how much money was brought in by the Christian Networks we would be amazed. Bob Tilton, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Baker and others have been first into the spotlight by their escapades in schemes to make more MONEY. They have opened up a Pandora's box in a system that produced mansions worth millions of dollars, bank accounts known and others never known filled with thousands upon thousands of dollars, lifestyles worthy of the rich and famous. All of this is on public record. Why would we believe that anything is different with those that are in that same arena but haven't been exposed? I hate to say it but the present Church system has sold itself out to MONEY.
9 Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity.
10 They buildup Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity. I I The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us.
12 Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest. (KJV)
Notice that the word of judgment is to the Heads, Princes, Priests, and Prophets. It is the leadership that is making merchandise of the House Of God. Babylon in Rev. 17 has made a league with the "merchants" and the "Kings" of the earth. They all love Babylon because Babylon has made them rich. She is the answer to their lust for MONEY. The apostle Paul ran into this same love for money when the makers and sellers of idols in Ephesus caused a riot among the people because Paul's preaching put fear in their hearts that their craft of making silver idols to the Goddess Diana would dry up. Their concern was in the making of MONEY, not in truth or error. You can be see that the same concerns are in the leaders of the modem Fundamental Church. When faced with truth that doesn't profit them financially they will suddenly grow very fervent in their fight against heresy. In truth, they are seeing a financial risk in preaching things that demand the people to do more than sit in their pews and amen the preacher and pay their tithes and offerings. The concern is over MONEY not heresy.
Everything that Babylon concerns herself with is a business venture cloaked in religion. She is a harlot. What is the difference between a wife and a harlot? They both have physical relations with a man, but one is an act of love and the other is an act of business. The act is the same, but the difference is the exchange of MONEY. Babylon is in love with only one thing, MONEY. She uses everything else to get more wealth and thereby she spends money to make more money. Think about it. Whenever a particular TV Network host and hostess have a guest speaker or singer on their program, they display the name and address of the guest on the TV screen and urge the viewing audience to write to that address. This accomplishes two things. First, it indebts the guest to the hosts financially. In order to get more of this MONEY, they must extol the virtues of the system that is feeding them. It is extremely hard to obey the Lord when He is telling you to bite the hand that feeds you! This is how Babylon keeps her secret motives secret. The unwitting ministry become an accessory to the crime and end up covering over the whorish aspects of the system.
The second thing this accomplishes is the merchandising of the gospel. When they display the name and address of the guest on the screen it in effect puts a giant machine into motion. In the business world this is viewed as a financial bonanza. All of us get mountains of junk mail in our mail box. This mail is sent by companies that buy mailing lists and send out bulk advertising to thousands of people in hopes of getting a small percentage to respond. A percentage of 4-6 people out of 100 is considered enough to make a financial killing. The same thing on TV. Companies pay an unbelievable amount of MONEY for just 30 seconds of advertising during a show. With this in mind, you can see the financial consequences of having ones name and address displayed on a TV screen where every telecast of this religious TV Network reaches millions of people world-wide with translators speaking every word in other languages. So you thought they were all just singing and preaching for the love of Jesus? The bare truth is that they are sitting on a gold mine.
There have been some ministers that are supposedly preaching a kingdom-lite message (of the low-fat, low-substance variety) that have been allowed on this network with high hopes of reaching many more people with the message of the kingdom. Sadly, they start out full of al@g statements of truth, and then after a period of time, just enough time to get used to a more luxuriant lifestyle, their message becomes milky and barely discernable as kingdom. 0 the power of MONEY! It must never be underestimated! If I could have the ear of every minister of Present Truth I would cry aloud to them of the danger of MONEY. The writer of the book of Ecclesiastes says this about the good and bad of MONEY.
I I Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.
12 For wisdom is a defense, and money is a defense: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it. (KJV)
MONEY without wisdom is death! It is a fever that will drive you insane. You will find yourself doing things that you would never have dreamed you could do. It is a drug that you will sell out your principals and morals for. The ministry of this word of the kingdom are especially susceptible to the allure of this false god. We have gone without our needs met for so long that I am afraid we will be enchanted more easily by its dazzling brilliance than others. I say this because I believe this realm of life, that has been so poor for so long, is going to come into a place of great prosperity in the near future. Even as I write there are men and women of great wealth that God has preserved for the support of this message.
A word of caution to the wise. Don't be swept off your feet by the glitz and glamour of MONEY. It is a powerful tool that has both death and life in it. MONEY can be used by God's people, or it can be abused by God's people. The priesthood of this day must guard against the inherent desire to prosper individually and to line their own pockets with funds that are earmarked for the needs of the body of Christ. I am not telling us to be poverty -stricken and to walk in a false sense of sacrifice. I do believe the Lord wants us to prosper and to be in good health. But let us understand the difference between having our NEEDS met and hording a vast amount of personal gain. There was a reason for God not letting the tribe of Levi to partake in the business ventures of the rest of the tribes of Israel. The priest must be elevated above the snake pit of greed!
I have seen the henchmen of the TV Networks that try their best to convince God's people that Jesus preached we should all be millionaires. It would be downright hilarious if it wasn't so sad to see these business people flashing diamond rings and rolodex watches at the screen while telling us that Jesus loved money and we should too. If we would just sow a little seed their way, in the form of cold cash, why, we could have a harvest of cadillacs and mansions in no time. A flash of white teeth, an honest Abe face, slick Hollywood settings, and who wouldn't believe them and send in your name and address to receive your free set of teaching tapes, absolutely FREE, for a love offering of $50. Heaven help us. What will be these poor ministers state of mind if the money market collapsed? People threw themselves out of high rise windows during the depression. MONEY is their god, and if it is taken away they will be without hope. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God!
If you doubt that the church is in this bad of shape, let me remind you that religion has the history of spawning some of the greatest conmen and conwomen known to mankind. I knew a minister that came to Detroit that had the gimmick of having a cross appear in the middle of his forehead at a set time of the service. The people would go nuts and nm up to the offering barrel with money in their hands. It was done with a chemical applied to the skin that caused blood to come to the surface in 45 minutes. Marjoe Gortner, a small time actor now, used to be a child preacher who caused people across the United States to jump and holler and give all of their money. The only trouble is, he never had an experience with God. In fact, he didn't even believe in God. Add to this the fact that one of the most respected ministers on the Christian TV Networks locked himself in a prayer tower and declared that God would take him home if he didn't receive an amount in the millions of dollars, and it is plain that the love of MONEY has had its toll on the leaders of the Fundamental church.
Time and space limit me to recount ,all of the charlatans that have stuck hidden receivers in their ears to get information on those in the crowds; slapped holy water from the holy land on the heads of the believers, which was drawn from their motel room faucet; Jim Jones that changed water into wine in his church basement, after a plumber installed a secret line that pumped wine into the faucet at a signal from Jones. All of this and much, much, more is being done right now in the name of Jesus in churches across the world, with only one thing in mind. Make more MONEY.
Why would these men and women do these things? MONEY is the road to power. Power means control. Control leads to greater influence over people. Influence allows a person to make more MONEY. The circle is complete and the individual will do anything imaginable to keep the circle going. Babylon is a master at keeping the circle intact. Who is more powerful than the leaders? Who is more controlling than the church? Who is more influencing than the scholars that insist the Bible says what they say it does? Eternal damnation, the rapture of the church, laying on of hands of a "healer" to get in touch with God, teachers who tickle ears, prophets who prophecy lies, and the people love to have it so. Let a new order arise! Bring forth the priests that have the Urim and Thunmm! Throw out the rotten meat and the watery wine, and the moldy bread that the people of God have been fed and set the feast before the hungry hearts.
I Ho, every one that @eth, come ye to the waters, and he that
hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat-, yea, come, buy wine and
milk without money and without price. 2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. (KJV)
Our greatest test will not be devils, or men, or dragons. Our greatest test is going to be how we handle the finances of the kingdom. One cannot imagine the lure of filthy lucre. It will cause your message to change, your ministry to lose it's edge, your vision to dull. If not handles with extreme care, it will impair your judgment of right and wrong. Over the years my wife and I have had many preachers of the present truth tell us they are going to go to the harlot system and deliver it from it's Babylonian ways. Unfailingly, each one has changed their message just enough to be accepted among the princes and merchants of Babylon. How easy it is to become a star to the lesser orders. The people are so hungry in the pews, you could throw them crumbs of the kingdom and they would think they are eating steak. Each preacher that has went to the whore has been wooed by her compliments and favors. They soon end up driving better cars, living in better houses, getting larger offerings. What's wrong with that, you ask? Don't they deserve all those things? Yes, they do. My question is, from my own experiences, what did they have to do to get them?
Let us be perfectly honest and frank about what we preach. It is a message that is contrary to the nature of men. It grates against the religious spirit. It tells men to sit down and shut up and let God speak. It reveals the man of sin in the temple, puts the spirit of Antichrist on the judgment seat of God, shines a piercing light upon the hypocrisy of a corrupt leadership, says "Woe, Woe, Woe" to the prophets who prophecy to please the flesh of men instead of God, demands the beheading of every priest that stands in the holy place and declares himself to be the mouth piece of God, expounds on the futility of men who preach about God without ever having a personal experience of His all-saving love and grace. This message calls the foolish and weak and rejects the wise and strong, leads the believer of it on a trail that crosses raging rivers, climbs horrendous mountains, winds through dry, hot deserts, careens through the camp of every giant and dragon in the land, takes us to the very mouth of death and hell, brings us within a heart beat of certain destruction, walks us through the valley of the shadow of death, drives us into the wilderness, and some other stuff that if I told you about right now you would run away and hide!
Doesn't sound like the kind of message you could build a mega-church on, now does it? The bare truth is, you can't, and you won't. And if you do, I have to believe you are not preaching the whole message to the people. God is out to get a generation for Himself, by any means necessary. Let the children play, but you priests of the Most High get yourselves up into the mountain and wait upon the Lord! In the stillness, in the quiet of the secret place of the Most High, there is a Word that will change our lives. If we will avail ourselves to this Word, Babylon will have no power over us. Our eyes will be for the Lord only. Our only purpose will be to bring honor and glory and majesty to His name. When we have been delivered from the love of MONEY, then we will be ready to lead the people to the next summit. Otherwise we will only lead them to hell.
(To be continued)