Each time I have tried to enter into an in-depth study of the cults and their history, I find myself thinking, “I’ve been here before.” I find myself moving further and further back to the beginning of man. Then I realize, we cannot understand the grip that cults hold over people, until we understand that there is a cult mentality that has been present in every man and woman since the beginning. We must go back to the book of Genesis in order to understand our present condition. The cult mentality is the human mentality. That’s why the cults are so successful, they appeal to the flesh.
God granted Adam and Eve freedom in the Garden of Eden and dominion over all the things in it. They had access to all of God’s provisions in His wonderful creation. He forbids them only one thing; the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God followed His command with a warning that if the fruit was eaten from this tree, death would follow. But even in the perfectness of the garden, Adam and Eve did not obey. Their disobedience cost them access to the Tree of Life. They could not be allowed to live eternally in a sinful condition. Therefore, they and all mankind who followed were condemned to sin and death. All that God has ever asked of mankind is that they obey Him.
Everything that follows in this book comes from my absolute belief in the God of Genesis – the creator of heaven and earth who made the universe out of nothing, who formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, exactly as he says in the book of Genesis. I accept this as a fact. I believe that the Holy Bible, the Word of God, is infallible and I accept no other writings or traditions of men to be the message of God for mankind today.
I believe that God has created all men and that all of mankind was created to be obedient to His service. It follows that if we are to serve Him, we should be knowledgeable of the one we serve. He refers to Himself in chapter one of Genesis by the name Elohim, or as the powerful one when He created the heavens and earth. In chapter two when He creates man, He is called Jehovah or the faithful one, recognizing His faithfulness in His relationship to man, the One who will be faithful in keeping His covenant with man. The true God of the Holy Bible, the creator of heaven and earth, cannot be understood apart from the acceptance of this truth. He is self-existent in the fullest meaning of that statement. There was no God before Him and there will be no God after Him. (Is 43:10-11) No power but His own was ever required for His being God. He is the I AM. He has and always will reveal Himself. He does not function in secret. His complete message is open today to mankind. He is all powerful in every realm of the universe. He is faithful and absolutely firm in adherence to all of His promises.
When we go back to Genesis, we realize that when Adam and Eve sinned their sin brought death to themselves and their descendants as well as destruction of their fellowship with God. They were cast out of the Garden of Eden. God would not fellowship with sin, but He did make provision to restore fellowship when He made a coat of skins for them. This required that an animal be sacrificed. In the account of Cain and Abel we find that restoration and fellowship must be on God’s terms and not man’s terms. This truth has been contained all through the Old Testament and into complete revelation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Throughout the Bible the only remedy for sin that allows man to be forgiven and come into God’s presence was the shedding of blood,” under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.” Hebrews 9:22 ESV The first time this was communicated to man was when God prepared a covering for Adam and Eve from animal skins. Adam had to have communicated this fact to His children. It is obvious that when Adam’s two sons went out to make a sacrifice to God, they had been instructed on how to worship. The writer tells us that Abel. brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering.” (Genesis 4:4)
Abel followed his God’s instruction as communicated through his father, yet Cain was in rebellion. Cain decided to worship God according to the dictates of his own heart. He brought to the altar the efforts of his own hands. He by-passed the explicit teaching given to his parents when God rejected their fig leaf aprons. God’s provision of coats of animal skin to cover their nakedness was accomplished by the of shedding of blood to provide a covering for sin. Abel, in his obedience brought to his altar the firstling of the flock, a blood sacrifice – acknowledging that which both he and Cain had no doubt been taught. Abel brought an offering acceptable to God, but Cain did not. God accepted Abel’s offering, but rejected Cain’s. Cain, in his anger with God, rose up and killed his brother. As it was in the beginning, so it is today. Man finding no peace with God turns his anger upon his fellow man. It will not change until Jesus returns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
In the world there are essentially only two religious’ concepts. This simplifies our pursuit greatly, instead of needing to come to grips with all of the various religious philosophies of approximately 5000 cults in the United States, according to government statistics. The cult mentality is how Cain worshipped and true worship is how Abel worshipped. All people will fall into one category or the other. They are either those who desire to worship according to the dictates of their own heart, like Cain or they are going to attempt to worship Him according to the pronouncements of God, like Abel. When a people choose to follow the dictates of their heart and refuse to come to God acceptably within His precepts; they are always angry with those who do come to God within His precepts. When they find their sacrifices are not acceptable to God, it keeps them in a constant state of frustration. Recent religious polls in the United States indicate that a majority of people believe in a god, but they desire to worship Him according to their own concept of worship. It is a lack of desire for obedient worship or God directed worship. This concept is basic to the cult mentality
We should understand that a true follower of God will approach God in God’s proscribed manner as set forth in God’s Holy Word. Those people have peace with God and when they have peace with God, they have peace with mankind. They are not at war with mankind, because they are not at war with God. During the Spanish Inquisition the Roman Catholic Church tortured and killed people in Europe who were Christian, but were opposed to some of the Roman Catholic Church’s doctrines. By looking at history of the Roman Catholic Church, we realize that it has never been and never will be any part of Biblical Christianity. It was lost to paganism ever since it gained an alliance with the state of Rome during the reign of the Emperor Constantine. When people feel that they want to look at “historical Christianity”, they look to the history of Roman Catholicism. They do not accept the existence of any other Christians until the Protestant Reformation. This is not true history. There were many small groups, like the Montanists, the Novationists, the Donatists, the Albigenses, the Waldenses, and the Ana-Baptists, which were persecuted by the Church of Rome and also, after the Reformation, by Protestants. The tragedies of England took place because of the constant transfer of power between Protestant and Catholic Kings and Queens. The killings that took place between Protestant and Catholics in Northern Ireland is no different than what was happening in the Middle Ages.
In true biblical Christianity, men do not perpetrate inquisitions or crusades. True biblical Christians would never perpetrate the things that happened in the United States to the Black man, the Indian or to any of the minority groups. True biblical Christianity is not a threat to the physical well-being of anyone so long as that individual is not bringing a physical threat against Christians. I do believe that true Christians have been authorized to defend themselves, those who are unable to defend themselves and to defend their nation against an oppressor. That is as it should be, but biblical Christians do not go out on religious crusades to bring about pain death and sorrow to other people just because they disagree doctrinally.
As we return to the beginning of our study of the cult mentality, we see Cain going forth to worship God according to the dictates of his own heart. And when the dictates of his heart do not meet with the approval of God, he becomes vindictive against his brother whose worship did meet with the approval of God. This has followed all down through the generations of mankind upon this earth with all the sons of Adam
Soon after my wife and I married, we visited a relative of hers who, along with a son and daughter had joined the Mormon Church. While visiting these relatives on my way to my assignment in the Philippines, we were visited by Mormon Missionaries, who told us that the Mormon Church was the only true church because they had a priesthood. Three years later I was assigned to Hill AFB Utah. Where I had the opportunity to study Mormonism and the Mormon people up close. One tract, written by an ex-Mormon who lived in Utah and had an active ministry among Mormons, focused on the rebellion of Korah and applied it to the Mormon priesthood.
Korah was a descendant of Levi, but not of Aaron. He, along with 250 leaders of Israel, came to Moses and Aaron with an accusation. They accused Moses and Aaron of taking too much authority and said that they could be priests just as well as Aaron. Moses fell on his face and told Korah to take the censers and put incense and fire in them. Aaron would do the same. When the people brought the incense to the tabernacle, the LORD spoke to Moses and said, “Tell the people to get away from Korah and the tents of the other leaders.’” Then the earth opened up and swallowed Korah and his followers. Fire also came out from the LORD and consumed the others who had put incense into their censers. Usually the story teller stops here, but there is more to the story. God told Moses to have Eleazar, Aaron’s son, scatter the fire from Korah and the other rebellious leaders, since the incense had been offered to the LORD, the censers were holy. Then Eleazar was to hammer the censers into a covering for the altar. The covering was to be a memorial, that no outsider who in not a descendant of Aaron come near to offer incense to the LORD lest he become like Korah and his followers.
Soon after I arrived in Utah, there was an article in the Salt Lake Tribune describing a fault line that ran through the Salt Lake Valley. One offshoot of the fault ran directly under the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City. A visitor’s guide at Temple Square, told us that the site where the flagpole in the center of Temple Square was where Brigham Young set his cane down and proclaimed, “This is where I will build my church.” The visitors guide said that the Mormons believed that God led him to that spot
Years later, I was telling this telling this story to my Sunday School Class in a lesson about the cults, when a member raised his hand and asked, “What about the Catholic Church? They have a priesthood.”
A simple search online turned up the answer. The headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church is located in Vatican City, Rome, Italy. The nation of Italy is divided into four quarters by two major faults. One runs north to south just east of Rome and the other east to west just south of Rome. These two faults make mapping the fracture lines impossible because they run all over Italy and make Rome the most earthquake prone city in the world. As I talked to others about my discovery of Salt Lake City and Rome, a friend asked, “What about the Eastern Orthodox Church? They have a priesthood also.
The Church of St. George in Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, is the principal Greek Orthodox cathedral still in use. Since about 1600, it has been the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul, the senior patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox Church and recognized as the spiritual leader of the world’s Eastern Orthodox Christians. The city of Istanbul lies near one of the most active seismic fault lines on the globe. Since the fifth century, Istanbul has suffered serious quake damage 12 times, most since the end of the 19th century. More ominously, from 1939 to 1999 there have been seven earthquakes in Turkey with a magnitude of more than 7 on the Richter scale, all on the Anatolian fault and with each major quake, the epicenter moves westward toward the city of Istanbul.
God’s Old Testament pronouncement concerning the priesthood is still in valid today. “Let no one who is not a descendant of Aaron come near to offer incense to the LORD lest the wind up like Korah and his companions.” But, you say, Jesus is our High Priest who is from the tribe of Judah. How can He be a priest? According to the writer of Hebrews, Jesus was made a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. The Mormon’s claim to the priesthood of Aaron and Melchizedek is argued that if God changed the priesthood once when Jesus, who was from the tribe of Judah was made a priest, why couldn’t the rules for the priesthood change a second time?
God does not arbitrarily go against his Law. The Law is logical and is an extension of his character. As Albert Einstein once said, “God doesn’t play dice with the universe.” God’s actions are always logical and consistent with his character. Two passages of Old Testament set the scene of how and why Jesus fulfilled the requirements for becoming a priest after the order of Melchizedek. In numbers 6, God gives the requirements for a man or woman who takes a Nazirite vow. This vow consecrates a person to God. One of the rules was that the person who takes a Nazirite vow cannot drink wine or partake of the fruit of the vine in any form. When Jesus was in the upper room, he said he would not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine until the day when I can drink it new with you in my father’s house (Matt. 29:29) indicates that he may have made a Nazirite vow.
In Leviticus 10, Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire in their censers so fire came out from the Lord and devoured them. Then Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar his sons, “Do not let the hair on your heads hang loose, and do not tear your clothes, lest you die and wrath come upon all the congregation.” (Leviticus 10:6) At the trial of Jesus, the High Priest said to Jesus, I adjure by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus said to him, You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming of the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest tore his robes and said, He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? Matthew 26:63-65
The act of the high priest tearing his clothes brought judgment on him and all Israel. So, there was no priest to bring a sacrifice to cover the sins of the people, unless there was one who had taken a vow of a Nazarite, who could be a substitute for the priest. Jesus then was, according to Jewish law, able to bring a sacrifice, the perfect sacrifice. And by his resurrection, He is able to administer the law of Christ, forever. (Galatian 6:2;) As Jesus said, “Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)