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Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 3)

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 1)

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 2)

PHARISAICAL FAKERY

         In began in ancient Sumer at the dawn of civilization.

         The Egyptians mastered the craft.

         It extended through the major cultures and empires of the world, culminating with the Romans in a purely pagan, non-Biblical sense.

         The Romans built upon the prior foundations of Greece and Egypt primarily, and confiscated from those and other prior cultures the highly defined pagan image-making art of ancient times.

         The nation of Israel had also long since succumbed to the practice of idolatry over a thousand years before, but it was the highly developed religious image-making and pretension of the first-century Pharisees who formed a false syncretic hybrid of Torah-ism and demon worship to the degree that the Lord Jesus called them “of their father the devil.”

         This Phariseeism was later used in Christian forms, one principally which still exists today, and formed the basis of the Christian image-making of the present. And rather than only forming idols of wood, metal, or stone, these fakers have followed the devil’s lead by also creating fully evolved human idols worshipped and followed every Sunday morning and on televisions nationwide.

         Indeed, television has become the perfect medium for such idolatry, though outside of television there has existed for many centuries an ultra-religious ceremonial and liturgical pageantry within particular denominations that has captured the minds of millions and deceived them away from the full expression and knowledge of the Lord.

         The entire effort of these false Christian forms and formats, as related to the Lord’s original, results in nothing more than shallow religious “showtime” using well-compensated religious actors, exactly as did the Pharisees, whom the Lord referred to as hypocrites (devious religious stage players).

         The Pharisees were fakes. They were not concerned with growing spiritually closer to God but about gaining earthly power and wealth. So are many “Christian” leaders and celebrities. If anyone actually believes that such “ministers” one sees up front and center are real, and that they are just like their stage (platform, pulpit) persona behind the scenes in regular life, such people are grossly deceived, and it illustrates how easy it is to manipulate and lead around by the nose those who refuse to fully surrender to the Lord Jesus.

“IT IS THE SPIRIT WHO GIVES LIFE; THE FLESH PROFITS NOTHING.” [John 6:63]

         Of course, there is nothing whatsoever fake or disingenuous about the Lord. And His rejection and death was in part because He obeyed the Torah commandments against idolatry and that He rejected false image-making. In essence, He appeared to be much less than whom He really was to a people well-conditioned to submit to religious masqueraders. To the majority, the God of the Universe simply did not look the part unlike so many religious fakers who did.

         …For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness… [2Corinthians 11:14-15]

         Christian religious image-making of the present has certainly gone mainstream but also mandatory if one is to receive market share, popularity, and reach the primary highly-coveted fundamental goals, which remain the same:

(1) An outlet for one’s vanity, narcissism, and pride,

(2) Greater advantage and influence, and

(3) Wealth.

         Therefore, Christians in particular must always remember that—

One’s eyes can certainly be deceived (and often are)

One’s perceived correct Biblical beliefs can certainly be inaccurate (and often are) through the power of a false gospel, and

One can certainly become a dupe. It has happened to millions, and such millions are growing exponentially. Those without spiritual eyes to see who have no love for the truth cannot help but be fooled. [See 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12]

         These are victims of higher powers masquerading as something real—false lights of shining fakery and carefully-crafted graven images of the human kind.

         One thing such victims all have in common is they don’t know they are deceived, are often willingly deceived, and strangely, stubbornly insist on supporting the unreal rather than the real, even if it costs them their eternal souls. It is pure idolatry, and the antithesis of the purity and reality of the Lord Jesus.

         “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

         The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

         I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

         He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.” [John 10:7-13] [1]

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 2)

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 1)

CULTURAL CONFORMITY

         The historical and American culture-changing Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960 (see video at end of Part 1) proved that what once was, was no more. A great transformation had taken place. Life got “modern.” The organic became the cosmetic. The country shifted dramatically from the spiritual to the material. Depth gave way to shallowness. Image-making became a priority.

         Keep in mind, however, that this was also the beginning of the Holy Spirit outpouring throughout denominational Christianity. Pentecost was pouring into places where it had previously been blocked. Thousands of denominational Christians were being filled with the Spirit like hundreds of thousands of Pentecostals before them. This outpouring also eventually reached the American Catholic Church. Many priests and nuns were becoming Pentecostal. It began the great Catholic Charismatic movement.

         But, of course, almost all of this wonderful spiritual history was not being reported by the few major news outlets that had succumbed to the phony dog and pony political show before them. It became obvious to anyone with spiritual eyes and ears that the major media became nothing more than a corporate entity doing the bidding of elites deceiving the country. As the dominance of the television medium increased, so did the power to use it for the sinister purposes of swaying the country toward a hidden agenda for the personal gain of those in power.

         Cultural conformity was forced and enforced, even more than in the 1950s. For a typical example, over half a century ago, IBM mandated a black pants, white shirt, black tie image for all workers as a statement of corporate uniformity. Professional dress became the model for emerging corporatism. Any and all forms of dissent were perceived as anti-American though the country was founded upon dissent and revolution.

         But suddenly, unbelievably, the perfect created image was destroyed. Naïve, idyllic America became an all too real nightmare. An American president had been savagely murdered under mysterious circumstances. Militarism and the destructive Vietnam War were in full swing. The ridiculous attitude of “my country right or wrong” became a compulsory slogan as an end-all be-all instead of doing the right thing to correct gross wrongs. Race riots were breaking out.

         Such coercion toward a regimented “follow-orders” populace created what was then known as the generation gap in that young people, still very much American at heart, rebelled against the fakery, the overbearing political correctness, religious redneckism, and the emerging military/political/corporate glom being forced upon the populace.

         Amidst all this, most Americans had no idea what was causing all the change or that they were being played. They did not see the actors behind the curtain. All anyone knew was that it seemed like the country was exploding.

         For they sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind. [Hosea 8:7][1]

KEEPING UP APPEARANCES

         It had been almost another half century since the dawn of public relations imaging and methods, and American individualism took a hit. It was a time of “Keeping up with the Joneses,” a popular expression of the day, when the middle class expanded and most were concerned with doing whatever they must to appear as solid, successful citizens and within a higher social strata.

         Bucking the system was opposed by the majority as something inherently wrong without noticing that “the system” had gone terribly wrong. “Keeping up appearances” was preferable to taking on the persona of the early American patriots to fix the country, and such image-consciousness was no longer only for the wealthy but for everyone who wanted to be well thought of.

         One’s presented image took precedence over one’s spiritual stature.

         Therefore, much of what happened in the counter-cultural 1960s was an immoral over-reaction against the heavy-handed authoritarianism of the day, in which those in charge were often terribly wrong though they insisted they must be honored, respected, and obeyed anyway. Most Americans did obey only to discover years later they were wrong to do that. Their outer redneckism of the time veiled a yellow, selfish heart. They bought into the lie.

         Image-making was so pervasive it became unconscious.

         Yet, centuries before the changes of the last one hundred years, there was a group of people who had mastered the craft of image-making and became extremely successful in its use. And it seems that whenever we reach points in history in which false imagery reaches its zenith, all hell breaks loose.

         In Part 3 we will look at the greatest manipulators of all and the sinister methods they use so well.

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

  

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 1)

         It is fairly easy for the non-deceived to spot faux religious leaders.

         Such are the ones with perfect outer images who have mastered the art of staying in character.

         They also dress very well for the part.

         “‘Cursed is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen.’” [Deuteronomy 27:15] [1]

         I remember hearing a message by a man principally involved in marriage ministry who also pastors a large congregation. This man was talking about how God created men to be wired visually regarding their attraction toward a mate.

         He then began talking about how enhanced photography and facial makeup allow some women to look much better than they actually do. When such methods create an image, it is simply not real. He said married men often fall into temptation comparing such pretty faces to their wives, who feel they cant compete.

         Regarding even the best looking professional super models he said, “Don’t be concerned about not looking like that. They don’t look like that…”

         Now, it is certainly okay to want to look our best, but some strive to vastly improve on the Creator’s handiwork and attempt to look not just their best but better than the rest, even if it means cosmetically transforming in the extreme their actual, God-given appearance. And the ultra use of cosmetics, plastic surgery, and photographic tricks to assist in that process is no longer necessarily an option for many, though it is a relatively recent innovation.

 CONTEMPORARY IMAGE-MAKING

         The first crude camera photograph was created circa 1826-27, going on two centuries ago, and the vast majority of ladies in developed nations never wore makeup until maybe 50-60 years ago. Now, of course, the percentage of women who wear makeup to some degree or another has advanced dramatically, and photography has advanced to ultra high definition video. By comparing the oldest photographs from the 1800s and portrait paintings centuries older, one can see the great advances made both in mechanical media and also culturally accepted (demanded) cosmetics.

         Technology has presently improved to the extent that a person’s image can be dramatically changed, and it can generate quite a shock when such people are seen outside their usual doctored images. This often happens with celebrities who spend a lot of time behind a camera, but this is not always the case.

         For instance, there is the true story from a few years ago of a longtime pastor who, during the middle of a big Sunday church service while preaching, suddenly ripped off the hairpiece from atop his head.

         The entire congregation was blown away. He had been wearing hairpieces for so long most of the people there had never known he was bald. It probably took a while to get used to the “new guy.”

         Because there are currently so many false images in the world, and because people become so used to seeing created images, the actual person underneath is often unrecognizable and by comparison obviously inferior.

         This has caused two things: (1) Very high artificial self-esteem based on the use of excellent effects to enhance one’s natural appearance, and (2) Very low self-esteem for those who cannot compete for whatever reason.

         It is most likely that such a wide divergence of image did not exist in the days when all women wore no makeup, save for a tiny percentage of royals and the wealthy. This provided for a level playing field though some had greater natural beauty than others.

         Today, if people choose to transform their image using whatever means, the outer image thus created is obviously different than what their actual natural image would be otherwise.

         If some of these people also dress very well, learn how to present themselves very well, say all the right words and phrases, and effect fake smiles and attitudes that appear real, outside observers will certainly be faked out, especially if they’ve never seen such people sans their carefully crafted image.

         What’s going on here? Why do people want to engage in such image-making?

         It usually boils down to three things: (1) Vanity, (2) Advantage, and (3) Money.

CREATING A PERSONAL BRAND

         It is a matter of social acceptance. It is a matter of dispelling any doubts concerning one’s character and motives. It is a matter of putting forth the look of success and proper reputation.

         It is also a matter of competition. The better one looks and the more one is accepted, the more one rises in one’s society (gains in popularity) and the better one feels (an ongoing endorphin rush), both of which results in greater pleasure and high self-esteem, though the danger of creating great pride exists based simply on a less than honest outer image. Also, more doors will open. More open doors mean receiving more opportunities, earning more money, and even attracting a better mate (or multiple mates).

         Of course, Hollywood figured this out going on a century ago. The creation of “movie stars” was not possible without stage lighting, makeup, superior costumes, camera tricks, and etc. And once such stars were created, the movie-going public attended theaters all over the country in droves which made for an interesting phenomenon regarding people worshipping people.

         As the medium grew more sophisticated and color film was invented, image-making went through the roof. Nice looking people became extremely good-looking people. The eventual fake image of these people became the standard image, since so few were seen in the real world under normal conditions. When they were seen for how they really looked, however, the contrast was obvious and often scandalous.

         Many mainline Christian denominations preached against makeup and what they might term “unholy clothing” for decades in a vain attempt to keep Hollywood from invading the church. But after World War I, the advent of moving pictures, and the comparatively decadent “Roaring Twenties” when greater wealth and material goods became available, the cat was out of the bag.

         It would take another quarter century, another World War (including the immoral influence of other cultures), and television before America became transformed forever into an amoral image-based society.

         The Kennedy-Nixon presidential debates, the first televised debates, proved this transformation in 1960. The visual contrast between these two men was stark in that John Kennedy presented a much greater televised image than Richard Nixon, though many who only listened on radio thought Nixon had won.

         It was primarily John Kennedy’s carefully crafted superior image that eventually won him the presidency.

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

“Kennedy and his people were the master manipulators of television:”

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 2)

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 3)