Michael Jackson Ghost

by admin on April 29, 2010

michael jackson ghost

michael jackson ghost

Relax, it’s just innocent fun!

Every year as we approach the end of October we begin to see the aisles of our local supermarkets fill up with witches hats, plastic devil’s horns, Frankenstein heads, and much more.  Halloween is on the way again. As you may expect our friends across the pond in the USA do all of this on a much bigger scale. Whole superstores are devoted to the event, parties are planned, huge bags of candy are purchased, mobile horror houses and ghost trains appear in the larger towns, multiple horror films are released in the cinema and trailed on television and radio and so much more.

Then on the evening of the 31st we watch as children dress as devils, witches, ghosts and a variety of other gruesome characters and walk around our streets having a great time with license to eat as much sugar as they can fit in their stomachs without being sick.

1 John 3:7-10 (ESV)
7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.  
8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.  
9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.  
10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

Questions abound: Is it really just good innocent fun?  Should Christian parents allow their children to participate? What message and witness does this give out to the world (and to our children especially)?

Well surely the clear implication to the world is that the devil, witchcraft, and evil are nothing at all and just perfectly innocent fun, child’s play, nothing to worry about. Exactly the message the Devil wants people to believe.

Halloween is an obvious easy target, but when we dig deeper we find that this is only scratching the surface and the Devil has many different truth-eroding tactics that are used all year around.  Some easy to spot, some disguised, all damaging.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

My concern is that as Christians we need to strengthen our defences and take our awareness levels up a notch because we are either missing or ignoring many of the attacks the devil makes that slowly but surely chip away at the foundational truths of Christianity1. In recent weeks for example I have increasingly noticed the belittling, scorning, undermining and ridiculing of truth in the subject areas of death, eternity, heaven and hell in particular.  I am not referring to the Christopher Hitchins and Richard Dawkins of this world, they play their part openly. I am talking about the continual and subtle bombarding by the devil on key foundational truths that result in leading modern society further away from God, His Word and most importantly the only way of salvation for sinners from death, hell and eternal punishment. What else could be more important to defend?

Let me explain using a few more examples from a wide variety of sources that have jumped to my attention that I believe are indicative of the problem. Let’s begin with television and movies.

Television and Movies (none of which are recommended)

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

As I was flicking through the channels on television recently I noticed a film I remember enjoying as a young teenager - ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent adventure’.  This film went hand in hand with ‘Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey’. Both films were about the humorous teenage adventures and antics of Bill and Ted. A couple of things struck me anew in the storyline:

  • During the plot we find the two main characters confronted with ‘Death’, the traditional character in a black gown holding a scythe.  Now obviously neither Bill nor Ted want to die and therefore they challenge Death to a series of games to win back their lives (Twister for example). It turns out that Bill and Ted do unexpectedly well and win their freedom.
  • On another occasion we find both Bill and Ted in hell. Bill experiences his hell as having to kiss his hairy relative, whereas Ted finds himself in a strict military camp. Within a short period of time both manage to return to their normal lives.

Little Nicky

A few weeks ago I watched a short extract from ‘Little Nicky’, an Adam Sandler comedy about one of the ‘so called’ sons of Satan in hell. Nicky is a shy, relatively kind, underachieving devil who does not quite fit in.  He is given a task that involves travelling between earth and hell to try and find his mischievous brother and bring him back ‘home’. In addition part of the plot shows Adolf Hitler being punished in a variety of humorous ways.

Hell Boy

The Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds recently held a special exhibition showing some of the costumes, armour and weapons from a film called ‘Hell Boy’. From various websites I understand that in the movie the character ‘Hell Boy’ is summoned to earth through some kind of ceremony or séance and is some kind of anti hero.

What effect does this have?: Of course there are many more examples from TV and cinema (at time of writing a film entitled ‘Drag me to hell’ is being advertised). Subtly the message given is that you can escape from death, hell and judgement, if you are smart or skilled. At best (for want of a better word) hell is portrayed as terrifying in horror films, but by the time the credits roll up the screen all is usually well again. Alternatively hell and the devil are portrayed as comical and either toned down or the at least the concept is ridiculed and only the very worst people would ever go there to be punished.

Humour

Someone recently told me a joke about the apostle Peter at the gates of heaven. It went something like:

John died and arriving at the pearly gates of heaven met the apostle Peter.

Peter: ‘Welcome, to get in I need to ask you just one simple question - Heaven is a place of love and therefore to get in here please spell the word LOVE for me.’

John: ‘Oh okay, L-O-V-E’

Peter: ‘Thank you, well done and welcome to paradise.’

(Just as John was walking through the gate Peter received a telephone call and looked flustered)

Peter: ‘John, excuse me, would you mind watching the gate for me for a few minutes? I need to go and sort out a problem.’

John: ‘Yeah sure, no problem.’

Peter: ‘Thank you. Oh and if anyone comes whilst I am away just ask them the question I asked you.’

(Peter leaves in a hurry)

(About a minute later who should walk up to the gate but John’s wife Hilda)

John: ‘Hello love, what are you doing here?’

Hilda: ‘Well I wouldn’t be here if you had fixed that cooker like I asked you to before you died, now move over and let me in?’

John: ‘Yes of course dear, you just have to answer one question and you will be straight through, Please spell TCHAIKOVSKY.’………………

There is a famous comedy sketch watched by millions of people over the years (it can be found on youtube.com) where we find comedian Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean, Blackadder) as the devil giving a welcome speech to all the people who have been sent to hell after the final judgment.

‘Here we like to keep things informal as well as infernal’

‘Christians, please come and stand over here, I am afraid the Jews were right’

‘Atheists, I bet you feel like a right bunch of nitwits’

‘See you all at the Barbeque later’

What effect does this have?: Humour of this nature implies that judgment is somehow funny, can be laughed off and therefore the reality is belittled.  The first example gives us the impression that somehow your eternal destination is still up for negotiation after death. The bible clearly tells us that our eternal destiny is set before we die, there is no way to change it.

Language

Various unhelpful and misleading phrases have embedded themselves in the English language.

‘Go to hell’

‘Not till hell freezes over’

‘It hurts like hell’

‘This food tastes heavenly’

‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’

‘It feels like I have been waiting for an eternity’

What effect does this have?: The serious reality of death, eternity, heaven and hell are belittled and made a part of common language. Through constant use the words and truths they represent can become ‘water off a ducks back’.

Music

My job recently took me to Nashville, Tennessee where I took the opportunity to visit the Grand Ole Opry, the home of country music. On the bill that night was Charlie Daniels who famously sang ‘The Devil went down to Georgia’. The lyrics of the song tell the story of Johnny who was challenged to a violin playing contest by the devil. If he won he would keep the golden violin, if he lost he would forfeit his soul. Of course he won and then Johnny goes on to taunt the devil by inviting him back anytime for a rematch.

What effect does this have?: The implication of the songs above is again that somehow through your own efforts you can prevail over the devil and hell. In addition it is another occasion where the devil is made to look insignificant (all he is concerned about being the best violin player around).

Celebrity

On 25th June 2009 approximately 155,000 people died and entered their eternal destiny2.  Among those was the ‘King of pop’ Michael Jackson. In the hours following his death hundreds of fellow celebrities and hundreds of thousands of fans from all over the world left messages of condolence.

Examples:

‘I hope he finally worked out his purpose in life, before he left it’ – Yusef Islam (formerly Cat Stevens)

‘May you rest in peace sweet Michael’ – Lenny Kravitz

‘I call on people from around the world to pray for him’ – Rev Al Sharpton, civil rights campaigner

‘His star will shine forever’ – Mariah Carey

‘We are out of our joy. He is out of his pain’ – Rev Jesse Jackson

‘He is now the brightest star in the sky’ – TMF music channel

What effect does this have?:

It is important to be clear about two things before we draw general implications:

  1. I am no judge of man. My opinion of people, whether celebrities or not has no bearing on their eternal destiny. God is the only judge. I am therefore not judging or indeed implying anything about Michael Jackson. I hope he came to faith in Christ before he died.
  2. But we also have to be realistic or we too are chipping away at truth.  Therefore we must consistently proclaim that God is clear in his Word about the way of salvation only being through his Son Jesus Christ and his atoning death on the cross. If anyone dies without this repentance of sin and faith then their eternal destiny is also very clear.

The reactions above I would suggest are generally typical and imply the following assumptions:

  • The person is at peace and out of pain – As explained above the bible tells us that this is the case only if they follow God’s prescribed route to salvation, through His son Jesus Christ.
  • That the person can still be prayed for, as that will somehow help – The bible tells us that death is the gateway to one of two destinies. There is no way to change that after the event.

Poetry 
I was recently at a funeral and one of the family members read Henry Holland’s famous poem to the congregation.

‘Death is nothing at all’ 
Henry Scott Holland 
1847 -1918

Death is nothing at all, 
I have only slipped away 
into the next room.

I am I,  
and you are you; 
whatever we were to each other,  
that, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name, 
speak to me in the easy way 
which you always used, 
put no difference in your tone, 
wear no forced air 
of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed 
at the little jokes we shared together. 
Let my name ever be 
the household word that it always was. 
Let it be spoken without effect,  
without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all 
that it ever meant. 
It is the same as it ever was. 
There is unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind 
because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you, 
for an interval,  
somewhere very near, 
just around the corner.

All is well.

What effect does this have?: Let’s be clear here – This is an immensely damaging poem as it gives false comfort and hope to family members and friends IF the deceased was not a Christian. The vicar leading the service also added ‘I didn’t know him but I know he is now at rest.’ False assurance given from a pulpit like this is so sad as it comes from someone who people view as having authority from the church.

In these circumstances everyone at the ceremony, or anyone who reads this in a card is given false hope with no evidence to base it on. In addition death is belittled and played down.

Religion

This is a huge subject to tackle in just a few words.

There are of course a huge variety of religions in the world and this volume and diversity alone is an extremely effective tactic for the devil. How can you possibly know which religion is true?  Or worse, many believe that all can be true, and all roads lead to heaven, whichever you want to choose.

Now of course Jesus tells us he is the only way so let’s focus down on ‘Christian’ like religions. An even smarter tactic is to present ‘almost truth’, or slight variations on the truth. That is why we have to be very careful with the term ‘Christian’ because many people do not understand the real meaning.

To many if you live in a ‘Christian’ country or attend a church you are a Christian. That is not necessarily the case.  If I stand in a garage it does not make me a car. In the same way if I attend church or even (dare I say it) stand in a pulpit (wearing a dog collar or not) and preach it does not make me a Christian.  The bible tells us that a true Christian is someone who has repented of their sin, turned to follow Christ Jesus and depends not on their own merits or strengths for salvation but wholly on the death and resurrection of Jesus as payment for their debt.

In this group of religions many twist the truth (my heart sinks every time I see another kingdom hall being built), and many water down the message so that it loses they key components necessary for salvation. So much of Christianity is geared to tell people what they want to hear. The message can easily become a ‘self help’, or ‘be nice to each other and we’ll all be okay’ message, and many so called churches would now be better categorised as Sunday social clubs.

On holiday recently we were faced with a choice of three promising churches in a row on the Sunday morning. We opted for the ‘Evangelical Lutheran Church’ with the following verse on the board outside:

Ephesians 2 v 8 (NIV)

‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast’

I came out of the service that day, angry and unfed. The church was full of people who all thought they heard a word from God, They had actually heard an anti-Christian message that led them away from the true path to salvation.

What effect does this have?: Appearances can be deceptive and misleading.  There are so many dangerous, mixed up, muddled messages.  These watered down positions make the message of salvation less urgent and make the punishment less scary. If hell and judgment exist at all ‘man’ would like to put a PG-13 rating on it at worst and even then there must be a way out.

CONCLUSION

The pressure to water down the message of Christianity has been there since Jesus began his ministry, and so it continues. ‘There is no hell’, ‘God is love and would not send anybody there even if there was such a place’, ‘Even if there is a hell it is reserved for the Hitler’s and Pol Pot’s of this world’, ‘There is no coming judgement’, ‘There is no urgency’, ‘Death is nothing’. Unfortunately none of these positions can be backed up by Scripture. This is ‘man’ asserting what he would like the truth to be, not man submitting to what an almighty God has revealed to us in His Word.

Very few people nowadays want to be seriously challenged about their beliefs. In fact rather than defend the right to free speech for Christians who try to tell others what the bible really says we find people crying ‘foul’. ‘Who are you to tell me what truth is?’ ‘It is different for me’. Further, challenging peoples beliefs and explaining your own faith is now becoming a breach of human rights3.

The simple fact remains that people are right and people are wrong. People cannot agree to disagree on some issues, it is a factual absurdity that both can be right, one must be.

So what is the Truth from God’s Word4? What do you need to believe and do to be a Christian?

  • An almighty and eternal God created
  • The bible tells us that we are all sinners and guilty before a holy sinless God
  • Jesus Christ is God and came to earth on a rescue mission
  • Jesus died on a cross as our sacrifice
  • Jesus rose again from the grave as our saviour to prove all he taught5
  • Jesus tells us that we can be forgiven if we repent of our sin, trust him for our salvation through his atoning death on the cross for us, and then live for him.
  • Jesus told us that hell is a real place with real punishment
  • Jesus stated that he is the only way to salvation, not one of many ways
  • Jesus says that he is coming again to judge the whole world, every person who ever lived, you and me.
  • The bible tells us exactly what will happen during the judgement - those who are found to be trusting for their salvation in Christ alone will be saved
  • The bible says that those who are not will be condemned to hell for eternity.

If heaven is real, if hell is real, if judgement is coming, if there is only one way of escape, if that is only through repentance and trusting in the sacrificial death of Jesus of Nazareth 2,000 years ago then surely that is the most important message.

Let’s not mess around with truth like this. Hell is real, eternity is forever, there is no escape, I don’t want to go there, I don’t want my family or friends or you to go there. Only right now can we be sure that we can still receive the unmerited gift of salvation.

Let’s encourage one another to become more aware and notice the underlying messages in the television and movies that we watch, the books, newspapers and magazines we read, in the music we listen to, and at the events we attend and celebrate (even Christian events!). Let’s not be bystanders when we see truth being eroded. People need to know the truth.

Recommended Reading

Striving against Satan – Joel R. Beeke – Bryntirian Press

Christless Christianity – Michael Horton

Whatever happened to hell? – John Blanchard – EP Books

Is sin serious? – Grace Publications

Where do we go from here? – John Blanchard – EP Books

David Woollin
Sales and Marketing
EP
+44 (0)1325 380232 (Ext 25)
http://www.epbooks.org
http://www.epbooks.us

About the Author

hi am christina lobo from NY

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