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When The Fallen Image is Everything

By David Sheldon

Images are powerful. A well-known tennis star recently stated that "image is everything" in a camera advertisement. Sadly, many of the images we observe only appear to be the real thing. Yet, they are ascribed with a reality leaving it nothing more than a "false reality." For example, religious icons like Mary or St. Christopher have been historically constructed into statues or medals leaving many to believe they are something worth worshipping. Even the burning of incense as it appeals to the senses may become symbolic of a false reality. Mankind loves the "feelings" elicited in the heart while observing and meditating on an icon or symbol even though it is fake and not the real thing. Man loves being carried away in his imagination toward something that "feels" great even though those feelings ultimately lead to idol worship. This is why images of God are strictly forbidden in the Law of Moses.

This generation, as a whole, is immersed in the power of image rather than the power of truth. Modern technologies like movies, television, video games, and even books for young people such as Harry Potter have paved the way for "the image." Sadly, since an image is just a copy or likeness of the real thing, it's power has many entangled in deception. This powerful deception is spiritual with a growing apostate church utilizing it for "winning people to Christ." Of course, this does not in fact win them to Jesus Christ. When churches enhance the image, it results in the person's own fallen corrupt worship, self-help seminars, "I'm Okay-Your Okay" consensus building fellowships, sensual and iconic "faith." All this is happening, yet it is called the participant's "salvation." The images, whatever they may be, say to the fallen human heart: "Never mind the facts of the revelation of God in Scripture." Our fallen human nature wishes to know the image. We want the idol.

In seminary, I was reminded of the fact that revelation of Scripture is first God acting, then explains the meaning of His act and His nature in the midst of that act, and finally the condition of those that observed the act. It is called the written Word of God and it is revelatory! He had to explain it because fallen man can not come up with the truth on his own! Not the truth about God or himself! Any observance of man "by himself" is always skewed by the sinful heart. Always! Modern mankind is well content in seeing an image or symbol and then gaining a feeling or ascribing their own meaning to it. This is why we can never "appeal to" or "stroke" the fallen human heart in our gospel preaching.

The revelation of Scripture is rejected by the purpose-drivenĀ® model through proof-text. It is their own new model toward ecumenism and then supported with slick marketing schemes. The emergent model initially rejects the purpose-drivenĀ® model. But, it embraces a "narrative model" (non-objective truth) of Scripture interpretation it supports with group consensus-building and mysticism. So, it also rejects the revelation. One rejects the other, but both will happily converge toward Catholicism!

In fact, the preaching of the cross (the facts about its meaning) is foolishness to those who are perishing. It is the Spirit of God who brings the conviction of a need of a Savior from sin. All other "gospel" preaching is ultimately a sham. Our preaching to fallen human hearts should never try to "compete" with the same weapons of an iconic faith. The weapon needed to destroy these false images is spiritual truth and only spiritual truth. Images are powerful enough on their own to the fallen human heart. Still, there is the god of this present evil age: ever ready and present to "spiritually energize" these lying strongholds of captivity. He uses some pastors to dismiss or even reject the real warfare associated with proclaiming the truth. They attempt to win souls by "wow"-ing them with things like "Christian" rock followed with a message about a slobbering God of love who is evidently not very holy! They believe they have to do this because they can not get nor keep people's attention any other way! So the cross of Jesus Christ as the "true symbol" of our fallen condition before a Holy God and His redeeming love in the sacrifice of His only Son is out the door in the apostate church! If the reality of that symbol is removed it is always replaced with something else. When the cross is robbed of its true meaning, it is replaced with a man-centered "gospel." So things like self-esteem, self-worth, self-fulfillment through purpose, the building of man's kingdom on earth as if it were God's, and other such things become the hallmarks of this false gospel. If we don't receive the One who has revealed Himself in truth, we will receive a LIE as if true and the resultant false life and worship. Thus, Jesus' words become critical. Be careful that the light in you is not darkness, for how great is the darkness! (See Matthew 6:23 and context)

For the world, "fantasy" is becoming "reality" as we plummet headlong toward the revealing of the Antichrist. That is the sad truth. By the time he is being revealed, he will simply appeal to that which Lucifer ("light" bearer) has already erected in the hearts of fallen mankind: self-obsession, self-love and self-deification. It is God who allows Satan's man, the Antichrist, to arise as the visible embodiment or representation of each individual's self worship. That is why Revelation 13 says that the whole world loves and follows the beast and makes an image to him. Even now, one can get "image-making kits" whether worldly, religious and "supposedly-Christian" (Satan is an equal-opportunity deceiver). They are being "sold" world-wide through conferences, movies, tapes, music, and books. This work is seamless to the fallen human heart! It is worth stating again - the world will gladly follow the Antichrist because he is the embodiment of each person's own ultimate self-worship! Satan says to Eve, "you shall be as god" in Genesis 3:5. The human heart can then be moved to believe: instead of worshipping God, I can worship ME and even call it "Christian" if I want. Repent of the growing delusion before it is too late! Place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior! Being incarnate deity He is the TRUE image of the invisible God. Because for mankind, the False Prophet and their new head the Antichrist - The Fallen Image is Everything!

"For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." I Corinthians 1:18 ESV
"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." Galatians 6:14 KJV

Copyright ©, 2006, David Sheldon. Updated 2010 by Kerri Sheldon.
Can be copied in its entirety for personal use or to be distributed, but not for profit.

Theological Studies
Contemporary Concerns
Deception in the Visible Church