Tuesday, August 15, 2017

World Peace and Harmony through Interfaith Dialogue

Mumbai, Maharashtra, India - The drive across Mumbai today for His Holiness the Dalai Lama to attend a seminar on ‘World Peace and Harmony through Interfaith Dialogue’ at the National Sports Club of India Dome included traversing the spectacular Bandra-Worli Sealink. He was welcomed on arrival by his host Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muni to a thunderous barrage of drums and horns.

As participants in the interfaith dialogue, led by Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muni and accompanied by His Holiness and Swami Ramdev stepped out onto the stage they were met by enthusiastic applause. Together they lit a lamp to inaugurate the proceedings. Each of the guests was felicitated with a traditional shawl and a memento of the occasion.

Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal was first to speak in order that he could leave to attend the launch of the first phase of the National Cancer Institute in Nagpur later in the morning. He saluted His Holiness as a “world-renowned spiritual leader we all look up to”. He added that it is a matter of pride that Dr. Lokesh Muni-ji, who has dedicated his life to peace and harmony, was leading the gathering, observing that he has made a real commitment to bringing people together from across the country.

Goyal noted that climate change and terrorism are among the world’s greatest challenges at present. He remarked that India is taking steps to counter atmospheric pollution, but also needs to be aware of the damage intolerant thinking does to society. He ended with an aspiration for India to achieve the five ‘Ps’—power, prosperity, prestige, pleasure and position. Vivek Oberoi, present in his role as a peace ambassador, also left to attend the NCI function with the Minister.
     
First of the spiritual leaders to speak about peace and harmony among faiths, Maulana Dr. Kalbe Sadiq referred to the case of the Babri Masjid currently being heard by the Supreme Court. He said that if the judgement favours the Hindu community, his community should accept it, and if it favours the Muslim community they should offer land to the other party because making a gift is a way to resolve disputes. Giani Gurbachan Singh, Chief Jathedar of the Akal Takht stated that despite differences of appearance, there is a unity among all religions because they convey a common message.

Archbishop Felix Anthony Machado talked about the need for peace in our hearts if we seek to create peace in the world. What is required, he said, is unity and truth. Union Minister for Agriculture and Panchayat Raj saluted the spiritual leaders. Union Minister for Science & Technology;  Environment, Forest and Climate Change; as well as Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan told the audience of more than 4000 that the government is determined to do what it can to take India forward, but needs the people’s support and participation.

Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muni paid tribute to Swami Ramdev for sparking a widespread interest in yoga. Observing the need to include instruction on peace and non-violence, as recommended by His Holiness, in the school curriculum, he also suggested taking His Holiness’s message about resisting the urge to resort to violence to places of conflict.

Swami Ramdev began with a characteristic declamation—“Bharat Mata ki Jai”. In the course of an extensive oration he suggested that China should be aware that all major religions are about peace and non-violence. Consequently, India, which is a religious country, is ready to engage in dialogue, but if her opponent wants war, she’s ready for that too. Jainacharya Namra Muni said he didn’t want to delay His Holiness since it was nearly time for lunch.

His Holiness was helped to his feet and took his place at the lectern. He opened his address in his customary way:

“Respected spiritual brothers and ... oh, no sisters?

“I am very happy to participate in this wonderful meeting, among spiritual leaders who not only carry out their own practice sincerely, but also take action to solve problems they encounter in a non-violent way. Usually I tell people that I don’t consider myself as anything other than another of the 7 billion human beings alive today. Mentally, emotionally and physically we are the same. Some of my friends here have a lot of hair on their faces, which I don’t, but basically we are the same.

“The entire 7 billion human beings want happiness and joy, but instead are faced by a multitude of problems—many of which are man-made. So, there’s a contradiction; no one wants problems and yet we seem to bring them on ourselves. How does this come about? As a result of our emotions, especially our destructive emotions.

“Anger and jealousy are related to our sense of self-centredness and our disregard for others. Self-centredness easily gives rise to fear, which fosters irritation, which, when it blazes into anger, can provoke violence. The time has come to accept that if we’re talking about peace in the world, we have to consider peace within ourselves.

“In this country, ahimsa has, for thousands of years, characterized the path of action, but it is related to being motivated by karuna or compassion. On the one hand, if we have a self-centred attitude, an artificial smile and seek to deceive others with sweet words—that’s a kind of violence. On the other, when a parent or teacher, like my tutor, uses harsh words entirely out of concern for a child’s welfare, that’s non-violent.

“So, the demarcation between violence and non-violence isn’t just about the nature of the action, it’s about motivation. That’s why we need to pay more attention to karuna or compassion, which scientists say is our basic human nature. They also say that constant fear, anger and suspicion undermine our immune system, whereas compassion has the effect of strengthening our health.”

His Holiness talked about our common human experience of being born and nurtured by our mothers. He remarked that some scientists have suggested that a mother’s physical touch is crucial to the proper development of our brains. We all grow up appreciating love and affection. We learn that jealousy doesn’t make us happy, whereas if we deal with each other honestly, truthfully and transparently, we’ll be content.

He went on to observe that common sense tells us that the family next door may be rich, but if they don’t trust each other, they won’t be happy. Meanwhile, the poor family down the road have very little, but because they have trust and affection for each other, they are full of joy. He suggested that the education system, oriented as it is to material goals rather inner values, contributes to our unease.

“If education paid more attention to the ancient Indian knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions, we’d learn how to achieve peace of mind. We’ve been working with education experts and scientists to draw up a curriculum to implement this from kindergarten to university. We propose to do this on a secular basis—secular meaning not only respect for all religious traditions without bias, but even respect for the views of those who have no belief. If India can combine modern education with ancient Indian knowledge, she can make a significant contribution to the well-being of all 7 billion human beings.”

His Holiness mentioned that he is committed to raising awareness of how to bring about a happier, more peaceful world through education and common sense. Having spent 58 years in this country he has observed with admiration how religious traditions that originated here live side by side with those that came from outside. In this India is an example to the world. He said it’s unthinkable that religious faith should be a source of conflict. However, there are places now where conflict takes place within the same faith—between Sunni and Shia traditions for example—something not seen in India.

“Wherever I go, I tell people that with regard to religious harmony, India is a living example that religious traditions can live together in peace and respect.

“As a Tibetan I am also concerned to preserve the knowledge that was first brought to Tibet in the 8th century by the master Shantarakshita. It reflects the traditions of Nalanda University that we have preserved and which Buddhists in the People’s Republic of China are increasingly coming to appreciate. India is our guru, and we have proved ourselves reliable chelas, because we have kept these traditions of philosophy, logic and understanding of the mind alive. Now, I’ve made a commitment to trying to revive this ancient knowledge in India, which I consider is the only country that could combine it with a modern approach to education.”

His Holiness and the several spiritual leaders ate lunch together in a cordial display of friendship before departing and going their own ways.

original link & photos: https://www.dalailama.com/news/2017/world-peace-and-harmony-through-interfaith-dialogue

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Difference Between Armageddon & the Apocalypse

Hello my para beauties! I trust you've had a wonderful weekend. A lot of this in my humble opinion of what I interpret the bible to be stating. By no means do I claim to state anything is fact. Only God knows when the 2nd coming is and what other details take place in these events.

What exactly is Armageddon? Is it a place or an event? It takes place during the Apocalypse. Who will take part in it? What does the Bible really say? Over 1,900 years ago, while exiled on an island off the Greek coast, the apostle John recorded what would happen, culminating in our time. In vision, he was taken forward in time into the “Lord’s Day” (Rev. 1:10) and was given messages regarding “...things which are, and things which shall be hereafter” (1:19).

Most of what John saw in vision was foreign to him. He had to record things in a way that could be understood. For instance, how would someone from the first century describe a helicopter gunship? What about a jet—or nuclear explosion? Jesus would have inspired him to use symbols or items familiar to him. The prophet Daniel spoke of “the TIME OF THE END.” The apostle Peter said, “there shall come in the LAST DAYS scoffers.” Paul said, “In the LAST DAYS perilous times shall come.”…some may say John wasn't in his right right mind being locked up so very long however, what if you are wrong? What then?

The Bible foretells a period of seven trumpets blown, each heralding its own terrible event. Now in my last 2 blogs I spoke of the 7 trumpets/seals. Throughout history, trumpet blasts have been used as warnings of imminent danger, such as war or another calamity (Zeph. 1:16; Jer. 4:19; Ezek. 33:2-6).

However, the seventh (or last) trumpet will announce to the world that Jesus Christ is coming to establish God’s rule on Earth. Man’s way of governance is ending. Also heralded by this final trumpet are the seven last plagues (also bowls or vials of wrath) God will use to punish a rebellious mankind. Revelation describes seven angels who “pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth” (Rev. 16:1).

When the first vial is poured out, “there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast” (vs. 2). These belong to the great, false church-state system. (More on this in a moment.)

The second plague mirrors what the Egyptians suffered before the Exodus: “The second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea” (vs. 3).

The next three plagues involve the rivers and fountains turning to blood, the sun becoming so hot it scorches people, and darkness and pain becoming unbearable. After all these plagues, men will continue to “blaspheme the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repent not of their deeds” (vs. 11).

The last generation before Jesus’ Return is so vile and corrupt that God will subject them to the worst punishment possible—and they still will not repent.

The Important Sixth Plague
The sixth of the last plagues sets the stage for the final battle to resist Christ at His Return. Forces of spiritual wickedness—demons—are released to gather armies to bring about destruction and devastation on the inhabitants of Earth. Notice how these armies are able to gather: “The sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared” (Rev. 16:12).

The Euphrates River originates in Turkey and flows southeast through Syria and Iraq, finally reaching the Persian Gulf. God will cause this river to dry up, enabling, it says, the “kings of the east” to easily cross into the Holy Land. But this is just a prelude—the setting of the stage for even more significant events to come.

Apocalypse is actually the Greek Name for the word translated "Revelation" in the Bible. It is the name of the last book of the Bible. It earned its name because of its overall description of the world-changing events that occur during the timeline of this book.

Armageddon, is both a place and now referred to as an event. It is the largest battlefield on earth, where a future battle is foretold between the armies of the earth and the returning King of Glory Jesus Christ. It is said that the blood of these armies will run as deep as the reins of horses in some places, and that the fuel supplies will heat the homes of the Palestinians for 7 years. Also, the birds of the whole earth will gather to eat to their full on the flesh of the dead soldiers.
Fuente(s).

I could go on and on here and even debate with many. Many have different opinions of this and that it ok. This is simply my humble opinions of what I've read and studied and heard my dear father Rev Auld speak of. I am only bringing my opinion, I don't seek to debate what is rightfully mine. My opinion. It makes you think though doesn't it?

Written By Jennifer L Auld
Originally posted on 3/8/14.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Dalai Lama on 'The Nature of Consciousness’ — Dialogue Between Russian & Buddhist Scholars

New Delhi, India, 8/7/17 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeted several old friends when he reached the hall in which Russian scientists and thinkers were meeting Buddhist scholars. He then examined an exhibition dedicated to Agvan Dorjiev with some interest. This Buryat monk first entered Tibet with his teacher in 1873. He went on to study at Drepung Gomang Monastery, where he earned a Geshe Lharampa degree. His appointment as a debating assistant to the Thirteenth Dalai Lama was the start of a close relationship that extended into far-reaching connections between Tibet and Russia.

In his introduction to the first session of this dialogue, Prof Konstantin Anokhin explained that many participants had been interested to attend the meeting because of a sense that Russia and Russian science occupies a position both culturally and geographically between eastern and western science. The aim, he said, was to discuss the nature of consciousness to better understand ourselves and to relieve suffering. He added that Russian participants came from a range of disciplines. They were joined by a dozen monks who are not only well-qualified Buddhist scholars, but have also acquired extensive experience of science.

When asked if he had any opening remarks to make, His Holiness explained that his childhood interest in technology and his drive to understand how mechanical things worked matured into an interest in science.

“I’ve had useful discussions with scientists for more than 30 years with two purposes in mind. The first is to extend our knowledge. Until the late 20th century scientists mostly investigated external phenomena, including the brain. These were things they could measure and which a third person could agree about. However, in the late 20th century and early 21st century more and more scientists have begun to find evidence that such experiences as meditation and mind training affect our brains in previously unforeseen ways—this is called neuroplasticity.

“The second purpose relates to the sad reality that although we are sitting together peaceably here, enjoying each others’ company, elsewhere people are being killed, the gap between rich and poor continues to grow and children in places like Yemen are dying of starvation. Organized violence—war—including the civil wars in Russia and China, took up a lot of the 20th century. Historians claim that 200 million died violently as a consequence. If a happier and more peaceful world had been created as a result, someone might say it was worthwhile, but that is not the case. In search of a solution to a disagreement, people resort to the use of force. The consequent violence just fosters further violence.

“We have to learn from experience and enter into dialogue, remembering that others are our human brothers and sisters. We have to live together. The global economy and the effects of climate change are not limited by national borders. It’s the idea of ‘us’ and ‘them’ we have to restrain, because it so easily becomes the basis for violence. We have to educate people to understand that we are all part of humanity.

“Fear and suspicion won’t help us live together. We have to cultivate warm-heartedness. So the other purpose is to draw attention to the importance of peace of mind and the fact that we can’t build peace on the basis of anger.”

His Holiness also acknowledged that it’s useful that Russia recognises Buddhism, which is followed particularly in Buryat, Kalmykia and Tuva, as a national religion. His Holiness took up the question of consciousness and mentioned the Buddhist view that there are different levels—the sensory consciousness of ordinary wakefulness, the subtler consciousness when we dream and the subtlest consciousness that manifests at the time of death.

Moderator Tatyana Chernigovskaya invited Prof Konstantin Anokhin, of the PK Anokhin Institute of Normal Physiology, Moscow, to begin his presentation on the ‘Unity of Mind-Brain: Holistic Approaches from the Russian Neuroscience of Higher Brain Functions’. He described the Main project that involves M(ind & Br)AIN, seeking to incorporate mind from a first person perspective (M1), mind from a third person perspective (M3) and brain from a third person perspective (B3). He concluded that mind is a structure and consciousness is a process within it.

When His Holiness asked about the beginning of mind and whether he believed in one big bang or several, Anokhin answered that mind appeared when life appeared. As to whether we can say that beings with minds are only found here, he answered that we cannot, but beings elsewhere may not be like us. One of the Buddhist scholars asked whether machines with artificial intelligence have emotions.

Yuri I Alexandrov of the Institute of Psychology, Moscow, began his presentation entitled ‘Non-Disjunctive Approach to Consciousness and Emotion: a Culture-Specific View’, by explaining that although we are all human beings and similar in that respect, we are also different.

He drew attention to a series of culture-specific differences between Russian and American approaches. The one is reactive, the other active. For one certain things are forbidden, for the other they are obligatory, where one takes an analytical stance, the other is more holistic. It was even suggested that given three images—of a cow, a chicken and grass, an American would associate the cow and the chicken as animals, whereas the Russian would associate the cow with grass. His conclusion was that these differences do not represent right and wrong approaches. Instead, because they are complementary, they are helpful and to be appreciated.

The gathering broke for lunch. His Holiness ate with the presenters and kept up conversation throughout the meal.

Resuming his presentation about consciousness and emotions Prof Alexandrov showed video clips of a mouse building a nest and a person watching a video including scenes of the Simpsons that indicated the ability to track the firing of neurons in connection with familiar and favoured situations.

Tatyana Chernigovskaya of St Petersburg State University spoke entertainingly about the ‘Cheshire Grin of Schrödinger’s Cat: Language and Mind’. From Nils Bohr noting that ‘the observer is a participant in the quantum world’ to Einstein’s remark that ‘body and soul are not two different things, but two different ways of perceiving the same thing’, she quoted from Kant to Wittgenstein. She discussed language and time in terms of what they can tell us about the mind.

His Holiness took from the mention of there only being an observed object so long as there is an observer a reference to interdependence and an echo of the Buddhist thought that things exist by way of designation. He recalled Wolf Singer, a German neurophysiologist Chernigovskaya had mentioned, indicating a brain and observing that its having no central authority reflects the Buddhist notion of there being no independent self.

While discussions between scientists and Buddhist scholars went on into the late afternoon, His Holiness retired for the day, saying he looked forward to listening to their conversation again tomorrow.

Original link & photos: https://www.dalailama.com/news/2017/the-nature-of-consciousness-dialogue-between-russian-and-buddhist-scholars

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Demons, Demonic Influences & Holy Angels

The first goal of demons in my opinion is to prevent us from receiving God's love and ever lasting life in Heaven..getting saved. Their sneaky are to attempt to get people to turn away from God. They do this through many forms of temptation, harassment, and also from distorting The Word Of God. Demons lie to us and work hard on our minds so that we are lying to ourselves and thinking awful things of our self worth and our ability to do things right. And pleasing to,God.

Another form of attack is accusation and criticism. Demons will interject condemning thoughts into the minds of believers. They absolutely love to conjure up the past with thoughts of, “You really failed at so much..” or “You really messed up”. Demons are on a mission to destroy us. They work together and strategize. They go after our weaknesses especially times when people are physically and/or emotionally weak. They attempt to affect all areas of a person’s body, soul, and spirit. They don’t play fair.

We know that we are made up of body, soul and spirit. Again the soul in itself is made up of mind, will and emotions. Becoming a believer means we must have surrendered our will to the Lordship of Jesus Christ our savior. But the mind and emotions, we might not have fully surrendered to our Lord. In these circumstances either knowingly or unknowingly we are allowing the devil to have a legal hold on our mind or emotions.

There are several ways by which demons oppresses people. Afflict: To inflict something hard to endure. Harass: To annoy or disturb persistently, to wear out by frequent attacks. Influence: To exercise indirect power over in order to sway or affect. Oppress: To lower in spirit or mood. Torment: To cause severe suffering of body or mind. Torture: To punish or coerce by inflicting excruciating pain. Worry: To disturb one or destroy one’s peace of mind by repeated or persistent torment. Wrong: To inflict injury on another without justification.

A demon can keep you in chains and isolate you by attacking the mind. That is the devils playground. But God has the final say and power to end it all. Rev 20:10 and the devil who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Demons are not God but sometimes they become the object of worship.  Behind every idol, there is a demon or an evil spirit. Sometimes we cherish certain beliefs which are not true.  This can become a form of idolatry.
Psalms 106:37 They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons.

God's Angels Are Invisible But Every Where

God has had angels specifically assigned to supervise and protect his Church throughout all of its history (Revelations 1:4, 16, 20; 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14). He has angels who are to always walk through the earth to watch and report back to him the overall conditions on earth (Zech 4:10; II Chron 16:9; Revelations 5:6). And God has angels specifically assigned to look after his begotten human children (Mattew 18:10 Acts 12:15). God promises: “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways (Psalms 91:11).” Angels are Good spirits that can manifest them self into a physical body. Good spirits linked to The Holy Spirit always speak the truth. Angels are everywhere my friends. God has us under protection.

In Job 38:4, 7, God is speaking specifically of the creation of earth. He says all the angels shouted for joy at the creation of the earth. This shows us that angels were created before the creation of the earth and probably before the material universe. The suns, planets and astral bodies are material substances. Angels are individually created spirit beings, composed solely of spirit.

Written By Jennifer L Auld

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Who are Fallen Angels? Why Does This Matter?

A Biblical Case for Demons and Fallen Angels being the Same Thing…and Why it Matters

By Reverend Mark Hunnemann

I bow before our Lord and offer this blog in a spirit of tenderness and humility…and gratitude to the Lord Jesus who triumphed over all evil.

Let us begin this study with a clear affirmation of the victory of the Lord Jesus over all evil!! Amen!
Colossians 2:15 “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”

Many godly, sincere, and knowledgeable people are stating that there is a distinction in the bible between demons, unclean spirits, and fallen angels. Indeed, not a few respected folks state that fallen angels are particularly in doubt regarding their identity. However, I humbly offer this analysis in an attempt to show that all three are the same….focusing on the identity of Fallen Angels.

A year ago I posted an extensive blog which shows that unclean spirits and demons are the same thing in the bible.

Here is the link:
http://archive.aweber.com/paraworld/BFyYL          

Please see comments on Revelation below as well). Not a few people were saying demons and unclean spirits were different beings, and I felt the need to address the issue. Please keep in mind that my main goal in this blog is to analyze fallen angels…but, specifically, I want to show that they are the same as unclean spirits and demons. My intent is NOT to focus on the question of when fallen angels fell, but their identity. I personally think that the classical view is correct—Satan and 1/3 of the angels “fell’ sometime before the creation of man, and Genesis 6 is a further rebellion of some of the already fallen angels/demons.

In my theological tradition/denomination (Reformed/Presbyterian) the identity of fallen angels is not in dispute. The classical view is pretty much universally held amongst Reformed theologians. For example, I was reading Jonathan Edwards recently and my views line up with his. But the ultimate guide must be the bible, and not a theological tradition, the book of Enoch, or any other non-canonical book. In addition, we must avoid the temptation to believe the views of someone regarding fallen angels simply because we deeply admire their piety, ministry, etc. Sola scriptura!

Colossians 2:15 “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him”. Let us keep this truth center stage!

There are numerous words used in NT just to describe Satan: devil, evil one, Lucifer, Angel of Light, Accuser, etc. In His all-wise sovereignty, God chose to use different words to identify Satan. Surely one reason was to reveal to us the multi-faceted nature of his being and work, so that we might be all the more informed and prepared—and the more we understand the evilness and power of our enemy, then the cosmic victory Jesus won on the cross will shine with all the more luster!

And of course, think of the dozens of names and titles of our Lord Jesus in both the OT and NT, which accent different aspects of the multi-splendored nature of His Person and Work!

So, we have a precedent/s in which the same person (Satan) or Person (Jesus) is called many different names, in God’s all-wise revelation to us. Hence, should we not expect that the devil’s subordinates would have multiple names as well, yet be the same entity? I believe that what holds true of Satan, is also true of his subordinates--evil spirits, demons, unclean spirits, elemental spirits (Col. 2:9, 20), rulers, authorities, cosmic powers (Eph 6), the devil’s angels (Matthew 25, Revelation 12) are different names for the same entity. That is my premise. Each of these is designed to accent a certain aspect of their nature and activity. But once again, the darkness of evil is the backdrop against which the brilliance and refulgence of God’s glory in Christ shines more brightly!

It simplifies the biblical data without endlessly multiplying the entities populating the spirit realm…and we’ve seen the precedents for this practice of multiple names for the same Person or person.
What’s the big deal? Why waste time on this issue? And aren’t you fixating on evil instead of Jesus?

If the spirit realm is populated by more than one kind of evil spirit, then are we to deal with these different spirits in different ways?  Is one stronger than another? I have heard numerous times that fallen angels are the strongest, then demons, and unclean spirits the weakest…or some variation of this. There is no doubt that some demons are stronger than others—as Jesus said that “this kind can only come out by prayer”, as well as the NT words that indicate hierarchy in demonic realm. However, this hierarchy does not imply that these are different “kinds” of entities….just variation in rank and strength. Think of the military—a general and private have different authority, but they are both soldiers.

Once you add even one more spirit, then the slippery slope comes into view. What is to keep us from multiplying these evil spirits phenomenologically--by how they appear and act…which can be endless? But most importantly, we MUST exegete the bible accurately, in honor of God. God’s precious, holy Word is worthy of careful exegesis and analysis of all topics if we are to accurately expound the whole counsel of God, which would include the identity of spirits in the spirit realm. 24/7 we are in warfare with these beings, so it is an immensely practical issue.

Some may say that I am giving the devil too much emphasis, but surely there is a difference between having a clear understanding of our adversaries, and fixating on them. In fact, it is LACK of clarity that can lead to confusion, and thus, fixation. Don’t we naturally obsessively ponder things that are confusing to us? Once it is cleared up (hopefully accurately), then we can enjoy cognitive rest. As always, we must then make a bee-line for the cross.

One last word of introduction: I’m not writing this to score debate points, but with a spirit of brokenness and humility, to God’s glory and to edify the saints.

So, who are fallen angels, and are they demons, as the classical view states? Given that some ‘big names’ have stated publicly that the identity of fallen angels is unclear, we must reaffirm that we are bound by the bible, and not by people that we may deeply respect.

1. My first argument (as defined in formal logic) is admittedly not explicitly biblical. Ockham’s razor states that: the simplest answer that explains the phenomena is to be preferred. Affirming that that unclean spirits, demons, and fallen angels (as well as elementals, etc) are the same entity is clearly the simplest explanation, and can easily and adequately explain all the biblical and experiential phenomena. No, it is not a biblical argument (logical argument, not red-faced screaming), but my reasoning is cumulative. God is the Lord of language, and He knows that using different names can accent different aspects of the same entity. If demons and unclean spirits can be (are) the same thing, then why not fallen angels?

2. 1 Timothy 5:21 speaks of “elect angels”, which is an obvious reference to good angels. In the bible there are elect and non-elect humans (Romans 9), so we may properly infer that if there are elect angels, then there must be non-elect or (bad or fallen) angels. It is the same Greek word for ‘elect’. Regardless of your view of election/predestination, there is symmetry of elect and non-elect. If you don’t like inference argumentation, then hang on.
3. Matthew 25…
31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
34 Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink,I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'
37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?'
40 And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'
41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.    (to diabolo kai tois angelos autou)
42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'
44 Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?'
45 Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.'
46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (emphasis added)
Matthew 25….The context is the Second Coming of Christ and the Final Judgment. Note in v. 31 good angels are mentioned, and in v. 41 ‘the devil and his angels” (elect and non-elect) Nobody claims that “fallen angels” is a phrase actually used in the bible, but the key is whether there are bad angels, who had to fall at some time because God didn’t make them bad. Regardless, this text shows ‘fallen angels’ at the public Last Judgment…which means they must have had a very significant role in the overall rebellion against God from the dawn of time. Neither demons nor unclean spirits are mentioned in this text, yet we read elsewhere in Matthew (and throughout bible) of their constant activity of rebelling against God and attacking humans. Clearly, these devil’s angels or ‘fallen angels’ had been the chief agents of spiritual destruction on earth under Satan’s leadership, or they wouldn’t have been singled out so severely by Jesus. Hence, we see a developing pattern of synonymous usage of demons, unclean spirits, and ‘fallen/bad’ angels.

When you read the gospel of Matthew, both demons and unclean spirits are mentioned numerous times, as the agents of diabolical destruction. But in this awful scene of the Last Judgment, Matthew refers to these same entities as the devils angels. I say this gently and humbly, but this one text should be conclusive.

The devil and his angels—that comes as close to what is meant by fallen angels as one can get. Theologians often use terms not mentioned in the bible (like The Trinity) to summarize biblical teaching. Surely, the devil’s angels (as opposed to God’s holy angels) are innumerable, utterly evil, and Satan’s only army since the dawn of history.

At the Last Judgment, the goats (damned humans), Satan, and his angels are consigned to eternity in hell. Demons are not mentioned. Unclean spirits are not mentioned. But ‘Satan’s angels’ are mentioned. Obviously these ‘fallen angels” have been the army of Satan fighting against God/man since the beginning….what we are warned against in Ephesians 6.

Matthew 25 is a summary of all of human and cosmic history, where the Son of Man damns both unbelieving humans, and their spiritual counterparts who have been His adversaries (and ours) since the dawn of time.  In light of this one text, how can we say that the identity of fallen angels is in doubt? If you prefer the term ‘devil’s angels,’ that is fine, but that is what theologians mean when they speak of fallen angels.

And most importantly for our purpose, “the devil’s angels” are clearly synonymous with demons and unclean spirits. If they aren’t the same, then why does Matthew show demons and unclean spirits as constantly attacking and possessing humans, but turns around and has God pronounce eternal judgment on the devils angels at the Last Judgment?  It makes no sense UNLESS, they are one and the same. There is linguistic and theological symmetry of angels, good and bad, in Matthews’s presentation of The Last Judgment. Other than in Revelation, the phrase ‘the devil/Satan and his angels’ is not used, but these are sufficient. The pronouncement of damnation against the fallen angels has to signify that they have been the same culprits mentioned throughout the NT, but called by different names.

To say that these are the angels mentioned in Genesis 6 is eisogesis because the context precludes that interpretation. Besides, the angels in Genesis 6 are said to be already in hell.

4. Jude….2 Peter
6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day--
7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
8 Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.
9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you."
10 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.
11 Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error and perished in Korah's rebellion.
14 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones,
15 to execute judgment

My point about this text is that it is consistently and symmetrically angelic….both good and bad angels. Leaving aside the nature of their sin in v. 6, evil angels (whether they were evil before this event is not clear), clearly the angels are fallen angels now, and some are probably in hell (depending on how one interprets the sin in v.6)—but most are active on earth and being blasphemed by the false teachers. In v. 10 Jude is especially (like Peter in parallel text) concerned with the false teacher’s lack of respect for angelic beings, especially bad angels. Curiously enough, in v. 10 the remaining fallen angels are referred to as “glorious ones”…(Greek, doxas), probably to offset the false teachers flippant attitude toward demonic spirits/fallen angels. This is supported by the next verse in which the arch-angel Michael refused to speak flippantly against his arch-foe Satan (once a mighty, holy angel himself) regarding the body of Moses. And then in v.14 the Lord will come with countless ‘holy ones’—an obvious reference to holy angels. My point is that, if you don’t get bogged down in interpretive details of the sin in v. 6, then the consistency and symmetry of references to both good and fallen angels is clear—even Michael is an angel, though an archangel. The angels who fell into sin (v.6)…Satan a fallen mighty angel…Michael an (arch)angel….and the countless holy angels coming with the Lord. So, the context is ANGELS, and would suggest that the ‘glorious ones’ are fallen angels….and that fallen angels are the same as demons. It makes much more sense than bouncing back and forth between different kinds of evil spirits. This is a tight argument by Jude, in which angels (both good and bad) play a key role in the everyday affairs of mankind, especially amongst the false teachers.

 Arguments from Revelation—

There are many different interpretations of this book (only one is right), so I’m not going to go in as much detail as some may like. But there is a general consensus that the movement of the book is from the things that were then present to the future…climaxing with the destruction of God’s enemies and the coming of the new heaven and earth. But within this general temporal movement forward, the visions sometimes ‘double back’ to the present, complementary perspectives on the same event or phase of the conflict between Christ and Satan.

In this flow, back and forth, the Greek word for demon is used:9:20; 16:13-14 (where demons and unclean spirits are used interchangeably);18:2.

In 12:7,9 bad or fallen angels are mentioned…Satan and his angels.
My point is simple: in the midst of the wild imagery of apocalyptic prophecy, there is a natural flow and interchangeability between demons, unclean spirits, and the devil’s angels/fallen angels.

Satan Thrown Down to Earth
12:7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels (hoi angelo autou)fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels (hoi angelo autou)fought back,
8 but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.
9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world--he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.
11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
This chapter, as with most, is hotly debated as far as when these events occur. May be multi-layered.Some see this as referring to the cross, some to original ousting from heaven, and still others to increased demonic activity prior to the very end. Perhaps there is overlap. Regardless, the cross is center stage at whatever point in redemptive history. In our study of fallen angels, let us not lose sight of that vital fact!

Note in v. 7 that Michael and his angels are fighting against the dragon (Satan) and his angels. There is a linguistic symmetry (hoi angelo autou) as well as symmetry of oppositional parties. Satan’s counterpart is not God, but Michael—the archangel and prince guardian of the church--, and they lead their respective angels against each other in the cosmic battle of the ages—long term and at the end. Good angels vs bad/fallen angels have been in a battle royal for eons. .
Not once, but twice, Satan/serpent/devil/dragon and his angels (hoi angelo autou) are explicitly mentioned as being the infernal army thrown to earth to fight against the Messiah and His people. The timing of this ‘casting down’ is disputed, but certainly the context reveals that Satan and the fallen angels are simply following the same MO that they employed from the Garden—where lies and false teaching continue, as well as persecution and temptation. What are elsewhere in Revelation called demons, are here called “Satan’s angels”—just as in Matthew 25. And the fallen angels are THE spiritual agents of destruction (under Satan) throughout history, aimed at God’s Kingdom…again, as in Matthew 25. My purpose is not to exegete the text in Revelation and the details, but to show that the devil’s angels/evil/fallen angels are center stage in Revelation 12…in what is a classic, significant text in Revelation, no matter how one interprets it.
What is clear to me is that the context reveals that this event is not an isolated one, but signifies the battle in general and that we have the victory in Jesus. Satan has been defanged as far as his ability to accuse us. However, the devil has been thrown down in great wrath, because he knows his time is short. (V. 12) In addition, in v. 4 many interpreters see this as the original fall of Satan and 1/3 of the angels with him.

9:20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons (daimonia) and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk,
21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
Again, I’ll not get bogged down in disputed details, but what is clear is that though unbelievers will be tortured by the very demons they worshipped, they don’t take heed from these final warnings. Large numbers of people are subjected to God’s wrath and demonic attack. Whereas in Ch. 12 the oppositional army consists of “Satan and his angels”, in ch.9 the same opposition are called “demons.”.Surely this is instructive.

16:12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east.
13 And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits  (pneumata tria akatharta) like frogs.
14 For they are demonic spirits,(pneumata daimoniown) performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.

In ch.16 the end has come…the final, decisive battle. Divine restraints are removed and Satan and his unclean spirits/demons assemble the world for the battle; climaxing millennia of opposition to God and His people. God will utterly squash this rebellion, based on the finished work of Christ on the cross. Please note that the army which was earlier called “Satan and his angels” is now called “the dragon/Satan and his unclean spirits/demons.” In the span of two verses, John naturally switches from unclean spirits to demons.
Is it not clear by now that demons, unclean spirits, and fallen angels are the same evil beings?

18:1 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory.
2 And he called out with a mighty voice, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast

Notice again, how in v.2 demons and unclean spirits are used interchangeably. Destruction has come on God’s enemies. Not focusing on interpretive details, we see that the oppositional army consists of demons or unclean spirits, which were earlier called “Satan and his angels.”

Does not the verbiage in Matthew 25 now make more sense? Putting aside all the apocalyptic imagery in the book of Revelation, we have a clear portrait of the Last Judgment in Matthew 25, which dispels any fog surrounding the sadistic spiritual culprits.

I trust by now that the cumulative effect of these “arguments” has had its desired effect. demons, unclean spirits, and fallen angels are different names for the same entity. I am not interested in winning an argument, but I want to honor God by trying to rightly divide the Word of Truth.

The more clearly we understand our enemy, the more lovely Jesus’’ triumph over this evil becomes. Yes, it is important to know our enemy, but it’s infinitely more important that we relish in the cosmic victory our blessed Savior accomplished.

Mark Hunnemann is the author of Seeing Ghosts Through God's Eyes: A Worldview Analysis of Earthbound Spirits. It's also available in eBook format.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Dalai Lama on ‘Communal Harmony - Foundation of World Peace’

Seminar on ‘Communal Harmony - Foundation of World Peace’
July 27, 2017

Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India - This morning His Holiness the Dalai Lama attended a Seminar in the auditorium of the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies on its spacious campus in nearby Choglamsar. The theme was ‘Communal Harmony - Foundation of World Peace’ and the occasion was a celebration of the centenary of the birth of the great 20th century leader of Ladakh, Bakula Rinpoche. The meeting had the further distinction of being organized by the Youth Wings of the Ladakh Buddhist Association (YWLBA), the Anjuman Imamia and the Anjuman Moin-ul-Islam.

Arrayed along the back of the stage was an exhibition of photographs from the life of Kushok Bakula Rinpoche, which His Holiness viewed with interest. He then lit the lamp to formally inaugurate proceedings.

In his introduction, Rinchen Namgyel, President YWLBA, explained that the 19th Bakula Rinpoche worked hard, particularly after Indian Independence, to bring all of the people of Ladakh together. He was the architect of modern Ladakh, an MP, and a social reformer, who popularized the promotion of communal harmony through education. He also oversaw the banning of animal sacrifice. Today, the state of communal harmony in Ladakh is an example for the rest of the world.

Bakula Rinpoche is regarded as an emanation of one of the Sixteen Arhats, close disciples of the Buddha, who undertook to protect his doctrine. The 19th incarnation was born a prince of the Matho family. He went to Tibet, where he met the 13th Dalai Lama, studied at Drepung Loseling Monastery, and earned the degree of Geshe Lharampa. In 1949, at Pandit Nehru’s behest he entered parliament and began his work for the growth of Ladakh. He was very keen to improve education and was involved in setting up the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies, which was initially located at Spituk Monastery before being transferred to its present site. He also arranged for scholars to study in Varanasi and Sri Lanka.

When he felt that Sheikh Abdullah, Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister, was neglecting Ladakh, he challenged him. For all that he was a monk, Bakula Rinpoche maintained a strong secular ethos, which enabled him to serve as a leader of all communities in Ladakh. Later, he contributed to the restoration of Buddhism in Mongolia.

The Representative of the Anjuman Imamia Youth Wing added that Bakula Rinpoche saw education as crucial to the path of development. He quoted Rinpoche as having called on everyone to shed their selfish motivation and work for the general good of Ladakh. The Representative of the Anjuman Moin-ul-Islam Youth Wing expressed admiration for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and stated that he had learned from him to regard all human beings as members of the same family. He added that the Prophet too described a genuine human being as one who serves others, while in general Muslims observe—“You have your religion; I have mine.”

When it came to His Holiness’s turn to speak, he addressed the gathering as brothers and sisters, telling them what an honour it was for him to be among them once more. He remarked that on his first visit to Ladakh in the 1960s he had met Bakula Rinpoche and many old friends, most of whom were no longer there. At that time Ladakh had not made much material progress. Since then, it has been transformed, with Bakula Rinpoche and others like Sonam Norbu having made a significant contribution.

“It’s very good to remember what a difference he made here,” His Holiness continued. “In due course, Rinpoche also played a significant role in the development of Mongolia and the restoration of Buddhism there, especially in terms of discipline.

“However, what’s past is past and now we have to look to the future. Generally, across the world, the beginning of the 21st century has been better than the 20th century. People have become fed up with violence and nurture a genuine desire for peace. I greatly appreciate the spirit of the European Union. At the end of the Second World War, the nations of Europe, after fighting each other for centuries, decided instead to work together for the common good. For sixty years since then peace has prevailed.

“One of the big mistakes of the 20th century was the persistent attempt to solve problems by use of force. The world has become so interdependent, both in terms of our economies on the one hand and dealing with challenges like climate change that affect us all on the other, that such an approach is completely out of date. We need a new way of thinking to suit our new reality. We have to learn to live side by side.

“We all want to live a happy life, so we have to learn to live together in trust and mutual respect. We do have differences of race, nationality, religious faith and so on, but these differences are secondary in comparison to our equality in being human. When I heard scientists say they had evidence that basic human nature is compassionate, I thought, ‘There’s real hope.’

“Helping others brings deep satisfaction. No matter how powerful we may seem to be, our survival depends on the community. Clearly the community is crucial to individual happiness, so if we make others happy, we too derive benefit. We need to take action. However, if we act out of self-centredness, it will be difficult to be transparent, to earn others’ trust and friendship. By learning to be more warm-hearted we can create a more compassionate world. As members of Institutions like this you can make a difference here in Ladakh, in Jammu & Kashmir and in India at large.

“We face a multitude of problems. But among them conflict in the name of religion is unthinkable and shameful. Such narrow-minded, short-sighted thinking is out of step with the times. We have to work with the welfare of the whole of humanity in mind.

“These are the sort of things I talk about wherever I go. As a Buddhist I pray every day for the happiness of all sentient beings, but those on other planets or in other parts of the universe I can’t reach. Even on this planet there are countless animals, birds and insects that we can do little for. Those who we can really help are our 7 billion fellow human beings, who can gain from learning the importance of inner peace. That’s what I wanted to share with you—now I’d like to hear your questions.”

The organizers had gathered more than 50 written questions, which the presenters read out, asking those who had asked them to stand to identify themselves.

Asked the meaning of unity in religion, His Holiness answered, “The sense of being brothers and sisters.” A question about whether there should be just one religion brought a swift response—“Impossible; even within Buddhism there are different points of view. All major religions convey a common message of love, but we need the variety they represent.”

A questioner noted that while religions invariably advocate harmony, the existence of faith schools seems to contradict that. His Holiness asserted his belief that education should be secular. It ought to be possible to learn to be a good human being, to be warm-hearted, without necessarily touching religion. He said we can find justification for warm-heartedness in scientific findings and common sense.

When asked his advice for the peace-loving people of Kashmir, His Holiness recalled first meeting Chief Minister Sheikh Abdullah at Nehru’s house in Delhi. At the time he thought there was an opportunity to resolve the problem, but it did not turn out that way. He observed that Gandhi had not wanted partition, but the price was for Jinnah to become Prime Minister of India, while Nehru cherished the same ambition. His Holiness recalled Vinoba Bhave’s advocating a greater unity among South Asian nations that might have provided the context for a solution. Conceding that he had no answer, His Holiness encouraged the young people who had asked the question to think carefully and formulate their own vision for achieving peace.

His Holiness agreed that the Buddha had declared that caste and family background were of no importance in his tradition. It was instead knowledge and practice that deserved respect. He added that in an age of democracy and equality there is no place for caste discrimination, which is simply out of date.

Asked why people trust him, His Holiness laughed and said it was because of his smile. “I always think of myself and others as being just human beings. I find it’s a basis for easily making friends.”

A representative of Christian Students offered words of thanks, expressing gratitude to His Holiness for coming and taking part, and to everyone else whose efforts had contributed to making the event a success. So many members of the audience wanted to shake His Holiness’s hand and have their photographs taken with him that his leaving the stage was slow. Eventually, however, he reached his car and was able to drive to the Sindhu Darshan Complex near Shey, where the LAHDC had invited him to lunch.

Within sight of the River Indus that flows swiftly out of Tibet, Dr Sonam Dawa LAHDC CEC paid tribute to His Holiness as the honoured guest. After a group of Ladakhi musicians had played and sung, prompting His Holiness to voice concern about their sitting too long out in the searing sun, he offered only brief remarks.

“The way Ladakh has developed since I first came here is impressive, but it would be good, at the same time, not to lose sight of the need for inner development in accordance with the ancient Indian knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions—now let’s eat!”

Once everyone present was replete, His Holiness returned to Shiwatsel Phodrang. Tomorrow, he will begin three days of teaching Shantideva’s ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’.

original link with photos: https://www.dalailama.com/news/2017/seminar-on-communal-harmony-foundation-of-world-peace

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Dalai Lama: "We Need One-ness of 7 Billion People"

Speaking at a session organised by the Ananta Centre, the Dalai Lama said "it is our collective responsibility to ensure a compassionate humanity." The 79-year-old also said, "I have been a refugee for over 50 years, but have never given up hope or determination." Watch his entire speech here.

http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/news/we-need-one-ness-of-7-billion-people-dalai-lama/346051

Here are the highlights:

We need to create the one-ness of 7 billion human beings.

I am nearly 80, I am still studying. Your whole life, remain a student.

Real transformation of India must take place in rural areas, not with more buildings and shops in Delhi and Bangalore.

The South Indian brain is something special, I think because they drink so much coconut water (laughs). So I also drink it.

I love President Bush as a human being, he was warm and informal not ceremonial.

Serving humanity is the best form of serving God, of worship.

Use education. It is best way of removing the differences that divide us. Teach secular ethics in schools.

In over 55 years of being a refugee, have never given up hope or determination.

It is our collective responsibility to create a compassionate humanity.

NOTE: This was originally posted in December 2014.

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