Tom: Welcome to Apostasy Update. This is the third program in our series addressing what the Bible has to say prophetically about the last days prior to the return of Jesus Christ. Now, the term used to describe those events is eschatology, and in general it has to do with the final events of history. My partner discussing what the Bible declares will take place in the last days is Carl Teichrib. He’s the author of Game of Gods: The Temple of Man in the Age of Re-enchantment.
Carl, welcome back.
Carl: Hey, thank you, Tom.
Tom: I have a question for you: Why should we be concerned about the last days, especially the rise of the religion in the kingdom of the Antichrist? Now, I’m thinking especially about those like me who believe in the Rapture of the church, which, according to Scripture, we will be removed from the earth before the Great Tribulation and the establishment of the kingdom of the Antichrist. So what do you say?
Carl: Well, first of all, the Bible itself is loaded with prophecy. The spirit of the Bible is a prophetic book. It’s a book that through the Old Testament prophesies the first coming of Christ, looking forward to the Messiah as He comes. And then as we see in the New Testament, there is again a forward-looking to Christ returning again, and this time returning as that King, as that Lion—not coming first as the Lamb, as He did, but now coming back as that declared King of kings, Lord of lords.
Carl: And so, first of all, for us as believers, we should be excited about that! We should be excited about the fact that Scripture prophesies and Scripture foretells what will be coming, what will take place, and in all this it points to Jesus Christ. It points to Him first. That’s really important! It’s not necessarily about world systems or about even the Antichrist, per se. All that’s a part of it. But even in that, when we take a look at what Scripture says, it still points to Jesus Christ, which is one of the exciting aspects of doing this kind of work, Tom, because we see what the world is doing. We see prophetically what the Bible says. We recognize that, from the fall from Genesis until Revelation, that there is a tension, a drama that’s unfolding—and that drama is between Christ and His declared salvation or man and his declared deity and ascension. Which is it? Which do we follow?
Besides excitement about His return, it should cause us to recognize the serious nature of the times that we live in, and not just simply now, but how it has progressed throughout the ages, that there’s a continuity. You can see Scripture unfold as it describes the human condition of our transgression against God, and as we see it coming to its final drama between the system of Antichrist, the system of man, versus Jesus himself. And it should impel us to see where we stand today, because we’re part of that unfolding story, and that’s an exciting proposition.
Tom: The thing that I keep falling back to is if there’s a greater support, if there’s a greater apologetic for the Bible being God’s Word, God’s communication to mankind, I don’t know what else is. I mean, there are things…
Tom: …yes. But that to me is amazing, because you can point to the Word of God and say, “Hey, look! The Word of God prophesied that this would take place. Did it take place? Well, let’s check it out historically,” and so on. And then in terms of a witness, yeah, we’re not going to be here, but whatever we’ve left behind, okay—possibly even what we’re doing right here—when we’re taken out, we’ve already been ministering to people, we’ve been talking about this. Because what do we say to them? We say, “Hey, look, here’s what the Bible says. Check it out.” So it is exciting!
You know, being a former Catholic, sometimes I have these guilt trips, okay? I used to think, What’s the point? We’re not going to be here. Why should we make a big issue of this? Why should we make a big deal of it? Talk about Mr. Dodo! And then, I don’t know how it happened, but I got turned around. I said, “Wait a minute, hold on! There’s evangelizing; there’s witnessing to people; there’s pointing to the Word of God, that it’s true and it can prove the truth of what it says.”
So again, folks, that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.
Carl: I deal on worldview trends that are unfolding right now, but even those worldview trends that are unfolding in its past and in its current form point somewhere…
Carl: …and they point to the fact that we are living in an age when you see man’s system at war with God’s system. And even that points to the fact that, yes, we have a hope, and that hope is Jesus Christ!
Tom: Right. We’re going to keep underscoring that, confirming these things and how this is pointing in a direction that we need to be aware of.
Folks, if you’ve been following and enjoying this series and would like to dig deeper into the information, you can check out the books that we’re using. We mentioned Carl’s book Game of Gods; there’s America, The Sorcerer’s New Apprentice: The Rise of New Age Shamanism, which I had the privilege of working on with Dave Hunt; and Samuel Andrews’ book Christianity and Anti-Christianity in Their Final Conflict; and most importantly the Bible, God’s Word.
So thus far in this series we’ve discussed the different perspectives of why the world is so messed up. Now, recounting the biblical perspective, it’s not complex. God, who created everything that is made, is infinite. He exists outside His creation, which He created in perfection. Then sin entered what God had made through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, and sin affected all of creation and brought about death, physical and spiritual. And although the physical world has suffered the consequences of mankind’s sin, what sin has produced among humans accounts for every form of wickedness and evildoing imaginable in this world. And mankind has been reaping that sinful mess for thousands of years. That’s the problem. Yet God has a solution—speak to either one, what God’s Word has to say about His solution, which the Bible calls the “good news.”
Carl: The solution rests on Him and not on ourselves. It isn’t on something you’ve done, it’s not something that I have done. It’s not an issue of our works, but it’s an issue of God’s grace.
Tom, when I go to different events as a researcher, when I go to the Parliament of World Religions or when I’ve gone to a global governance event, this is the core that I see coming through over and over again. They are looking for a salvation plan. In fact, through the Parliament of World Religions in 2018, one of the executives of the parliament made it very clear—and he used this word on a number of occasions in his closing speech—that we are engaging in the salvation of the world, and by saving the world we save ourselves.
Tom, it’s a salvation alternative! That is what the world is doing. Salvation is either in God through Jesus Christ, or in some other manmade structure or some other manmade endeavor. Which one are you going to choose? The problem can’t fix itself. You’re going to choose man’s system? Good luck with that! Or you choose the One who is outside of time, space, and matter, the One who created it. Which one do you choose?
And then what I have to tell people is, “Look, even on the issue of global governance….” Over and over again, Tom, the message is we are the last hope for the world. “The United Nations is mankind’s last best hope!” or “Some system of world order is man’s hope!”
So there’s always, whether it’s implied or explicit, this question: God’s system or man’s system? Jesus Christ, or humanity saving itself? Which is it? All three of the books we are describing and talking about demonstrate some of those nuances, but there’s a simplicity to it, and it’s really an issue of choice: who do you trust, God or man?
Tom: Folks, what we’re trying to do here is simplify it as best we can, and it can be. This isn’t something that’s, “Oh, well, it’s way too complex.” No, it’s not.
In our past programs we’ve talked about materialistic science. Basically, it’s this: there’s nothing that exists outside of matter, okay? There’s no spirit, there’s no nonphysical reality according to that view. It’s a view that’s been around for a long time, but it’s losing favor, because it doesn’t work! The point I’m making is what would be their world solution? Well, all problems are going to be resolved through science. That is, science that denies the existence of anything nonphysical, which of course would exclude the God of the Bible. Certainly some problems have been resolved through science, which we’re thankful for, right? But all problems? And many of the ones that seem to be fixed have produced additional problems. So yes, we’re not denying the value of science if it’s true science. But we know that science has moved quickly from what we’re talking about—this idea that nothing exists outside matter, physical matter—to a wishfulness, to a mysticism, which we’re going to get into.
But there are other issues related to materialistic science. One is that it denies the purpose for mankind as well as an afterlife. It’s bound to this earth: you’re born, you die, that’s it.
Now, Carl, you mentioned last week, and I’d like you to repeat this, because it’s really important, about your Christian friend who talked to a science professor who was a scientific materialist. What did he say to him?
Carl: It was an interesting conversation. Now, my Christian friend is part of our weekly Bible study group and he was going to university for his degree in education. And he had to take a course on philosophy, and it was specifically mathematical philosophy, because my friend, his specialty is mathematics, and going into the education system, he’ll be going in as a math teacher. But his mathematics philosophy professor was very, very clear that he was a naturalist, a materialist, that there is nothing else outside of the material universe. And so my friend had many conversations with him, and one of the things that came up in the conversation was this—and this is important, Tom; the professor admitted this—he has no ultimate hope. More than that, he explained it in very clear language that he has to, on a daily basis, lie to himself. He has to live in a purposeful illusion that there is some meaning or purpose to all of this, because in his materialist worldview, being honest to it, he knows that there is no purpose, there is no ultimate meaning, there is no hope. And my friend was flabbergasted by this, because he’s like, “That’s horrible! How can you live like that?”
And it brought about some really interesting conversations between the two of them, because they had also developed a friendship. But it really was a question of my friend is a Christian having hope in Jesus Christ—hope because, as Genesis 1 tells us, he is made in the image of God; that he is God’s reflection on earth; he is supposed to be God’s representative on earth; that there is therefore value, there is purpose, there is meaning, there is a beautiful element to that. Or you live with, “I’m just an accident in an accidental universe. Sure, there’s order to the universe. We see all kinds of things coming together, but ultimately there’s no meaning, there’s no purpose. There’s no destiny, there’s no hope.”
How tragic is that, Tom?
Tom: Yeah, it’s incredibly tragic, and you pointed out that it leaves people with a vacuum of despair and despondency.
Tom: Now, that emptiness I believe opened the door for the New Age movement, which was a Westernized version of Hinduism, of Eastern Mysticism.
Carl: Oh, it absolutely did. It blew open the doors and they came together, postmodernism and the New Age movement, postmodernism ultimately saying, “All we have are questions and no answers. There really is no meaning, but we are in a search for some type of meaning! We’re looking for something.”
And the New Age movement saying, “We have an answer, and follow this path, the Eastern path.” And what’s interesting is the New Age movement is both a combination of the Eastern path and it’s also a combination of the materialist psychology, and the two come together. And really they came together in the 1960s in one place that we’ll probably get into this down the road in some detail, but at the Esalen Institute, that is where human potential and new spirituality came together and formed in its essence the New Age movement.
But what’s interesting is even when we were in the height of modernity—let’s say even the 1800s, there was a recognition that there still is a religious impulse, a religious philosophical impulse, and it was so hard for even materialists of the day to say, “All there is is materialism.”
I’ll give you a couple of examples: for most of your audience, maybe the two philosophers Saint-Simon and Auguste Comte don’t maybe mean too much. Saint-Simon and Auguste Comte are kind of the forefathers of socialism. Saint-Simon was the teacher, Auguste Comte was the student. Saint-Simon in the early 1800s, he said, “Look, what we need is a new system. We need a system where men of industry, men of science, men of business order civilization. And we have to end dogma; we have to end theology. We have to replace all this with something more,” with something that is what we would call secular. But he couldn’t let that go.
In an essay that he entitled “New Christianity,” he described this new system within the context of being a new form of Christianity. Again, it was devoid of dogma, of theology, devoid of Scripture. Let me just read for you what he said, because this strikes at the heart of this humanist quest, and yet at the same time saying there’s still something more, because we’re looking for something somehow religious. So this is what he wrote, and this is from his book Social Organization: The Science of Man and Other Writings. Remember, he’s a secularist, he’s a materialist:
“The rejuvenated religion is called upon to organize all peoples in a state of perpetual peace by aligning them all against the nation which tries to gain its own advantage at the expense of the good of the whole human race. It is called upon to link together the scientists, artists, and industrialists, and to make them the managing directors of the human race as well as of the particular interest of each individual people. It is called upon to put the arts, experimental sciences, and industry in the front rank of sacred studies. Finally, New Christianity is called upon to pronounce anathema upon theology and to give them as unholy any doctrine, trying to teach men that there is any other way of obtaining eternal life except that of working with all their might for the improvement of the conditions of life of their fellow man.”
Carl: Wow! And so he went on—Saint-Simon went on to talk about how dangerous Bible study was, because what would Bible study do? This is how he puts it: “The study of the Bible draws attention to political motives contrary to the public welfare. It prevents the Protestants from working for a political system in which common interest will be managed by the ableist men in science, art, and industry.”
And so Saint-Simon recognized, “I’ve got a humanist, materialist system,” but he still couches it within a religious construct. And then his student Auguste Comte developed a system of philosophy called positivism, which says there is no truth—no truth, no knowledge outside of what can be positively experienced and encountered through science. And so positivism formed a very strong philosophical foundation for materialism, but Auguste Comte understood that this, too, has almost a religious underpinning. And so he created what he called the religion of humanity, where they would have worship services for humanity. They would even do group studies like personal group encounters to help generate good social feelings for humanity.
Tom, we can’t escape this, can we? Here’s the two individuals who formed the heartbeat of materialist socialism, and yet they recognize that within it is still this religious heartbeat.
Tom: Carl, that is so critical, so important. And, folks, did you hear that? The 1800s, okay? You could have been on a news broadcast and promoting that today and people would…“Oh, yeah, okay, we see it. We understand it. We’re in it.”
The other thing that I want to get back to, and this was an important point that you made, but I want to deal with…and the whole scientific materialism, because we know it didn’t work for them. But there are some other aspects to it that need to be addressed, as well, and that’s naturalism and evolution. Now, what’s the connection between them and the materialistic science that we’ve been talking about? How are they related, Carl?
Carl: Well, materialism and evolution come together in that evolution forms—let’s call it the framework, right, which we can now declare materialism as the highest ideal. We don’t need God. If we accept evolution at its premise, then we have done away with the supernatural. We now have a foundation upon which to build our materialist worldview, because there is nothing outside of the natural world. There is nothing outside of the created order, and evolution is fundamental. If we didn’t have an evolutionary point of view, materialism probably would never have had the success it did in our academic world, in our universities, it probably never would have had that drive behind it. But evolution becomes that engine or that foundation that allows it to stand firm and then project itself. And I know, Tom, you folks have done programming, written articles, published on the issue of evolution, you’ve had speakers who have dealt with the issue of evolution, but those two things are tied together, and people need to recognize that evolution produces a philosophical worldview, and it’s a worldview that says, “God doesn’t exist. All we have is the material.” So it justifies it. It justifies it.
Tom: Right. As you’ve described and we talked about, where is it going? What is it proving? Give me some facts, give me some truth related to evolution.
Tom: No! It’s not there. So where are they going to go from this? I want to throw this out of the park, because the two of us didn’t just come off the street and we’re making this up. This is my studies along with Dave Hunt, Carl, and many others that we’ve had the blessing to talk to, to interact with, and so on. So where are they going to go? If scientific materialism is dead, as you’ve described, they still have to make this work, because again, we said this last week (I think I said it) you’ve got God or self.
Tom: If you reject God, you’re left with self. So self has to make it work, and they’re going to reach for anything they can to continue the program because they reject the living God of the Bible, okay? Once that rejection is made, they’re left on their own. So what can they throw into this? And it’s going to be mysticism, so they have to turn to mysticism.
But let me give you some definitions of mysticism, and this is not my favorite dictionary of all time, the Webster Dictionary of—what is it, 1828, in which he got most of his definitions from the Bible, okay? But no, I didn’t go to that. I went to the Oxford Dictionary of today. Now here’s what it says about that—well, “Mysticism is a belief that union with or absorption into deity, or the absolute, or the spiritual apprehension of knowledge inaccessible to the intellect may be attained through contemplation and self-surrender.”
Now before we get on that part, here’s the other definition that it gives—again, folks, the Oxford Dictionary, modern dictionary. It says, “Mysticism is a belief characterized by self-delusion or dreamy confusion of thought, especially when based on the assumption of occult qualities or mysterious agencies.”
Now, Carl, although the second definition may sound a bit condescending (but what else could you say), those are indeed some of the characteristics of mysticism, which we’re going to be explaining throughout this series. As the first definition indicates, it involves “apprehension of knowledge inaccessible to the intellect.” That’s another way of saying it doesn’t take place through normal consciousness but rather through an altered state of consciousness. For example, psychedelic drug trips through the use of LSD or psilocybin or marijuana often induce an altered state of consciousness, but they also occur through non-drug methods such as yoga, meditation, sensory deprivation, trances, hyper-breathing techniques, even ritualistic dance practices and more. So what are your thoughts about mysticism?
Carl: I’d like to add one more thing to this, one more aspect to the definitions. It’s a feeling! There’s an emotion to it. There is a sense that you have now experienced something that’s beyond the ordinary. There is a definite feeling that comes alongside of that mystical experience.
What’s interesting is even Auguste Comte, going back to his materialist, positivist worldview, he understood that order and positivism was something that men could understand. And remember, this is like the early 1800s, and he was describing this before Darwin, before Darwin’s theory even emerged. He understood that men understood order because we build, we construct. But what we also needed was, in his term, the feminine side or the female side, and that was the emotion, the feeling. And so he was looking for both a materialist worldview, a materialist kind of an underpinning for everything, but he recognized at the same time there has to be this sense of a connection. There has to be this sense or this feeling that you are now part of something bigger than yourself, and I think mysticism embodies that. It’s not just simply you’ve gone into an altered state of consciousness—you have, absolutely! But what has that altered state of consciousness done? It has said, “Oh, I have now experienced, I have felt something that’s beyond the ordinary. This becomes my basis for reality.”
Tom: Carl, there are so many aspects…look, a chief characteristic of mysticism is its subjective aspect. It entails one’s personal thoughts, emotions, experiences, intuitions, and particularly feelings, as you just said, Carl. So mysticism refrains from any objective evaluation or requirement. That’s why this shift from scientific materialism, which has no answers, to now, “Well, let’s get away from the objective aspects, okay?” which some people won’t ever do, but many people will, because it supplies answers that their other views couldn’t come up with.
So I want to come back to this, but, folks, we’re going to take a slight break in what we’re dealing with. What I’d like to do, the Lord willing, for the next couple of weeks, we’re going to get into Samuel Andrews’ book Christianity and Anti-Christianity in Their Final Conflict, because I don’t want our viewers to lose sight of the fact where this is going.
Tom: Here’s the track, here’s the rail that it’s on. Andrews’ book, the 1800s, 1880, 120 years ago. But this is all on-track, this is all heading the direction which we had hope for when we decided to put this together, right, Carl?
Carl: Absolutely. This is exciting! It’s good to see where it’s going to go.
Tom: So thanks, brother, for your input, and God bless you, and look forward to next week.
Carl: All right, talk to you then, Tom.