Tom: Welcome to Apostasy Update. This is our fourth program in our series addressing what the Bible has to say prophetically about the last days prior to the return of Jesus Christ. As I mentioned last week, the term used to describe those events is “eschatology,” and in general it has to do with the final events of history. My partner in discussing biblical eschatology is Carl Teichrib. He’s the author of Game of Gods: The Temple of Man in the Age of Re-enchantment.
Carl, it’s good to have you back with me discussing this very important subject.
Carl: Tom, I’m excited. I’m excited. We’ve had some good conversations; I’m looking forward to this one.
Tom: Yes. And as I’ve been saying each week during our discussions, much of the information that we’re presenting is taken from four books: your book, Carl, Game of Gods; The Sorcerer’s New Apprentice; Christianity and Anti-Christianity in Their Final Conflict; and most importantly the Bible, which is God’s direct communication to mankind.
But in this session, or two or more perhaps, we’re going to focus on the insights of Samuel Andrews’ book Christianity and Anti-Christianity in Their Final Conflict. Its first printing appeared in 1898, yet much of it reads as though it were published today. In simple terms, what Andrews did was look to the book of Revelation for details regarding those things that Scripture declares will take place during the preparation for and the establishment of the religion and kingdom of the Antichrist. He considered things such as the rise of Antichrist, the Antichrist as a world leader controlling nearly all of humanity; that a as a man he will elevate himself to be God, and he will seduce humanity into worshipping him as God.
Now, Samuel Andrews then looked to his own generation 120 years ago to see if there might be things that would prepare mankind for what Scripture declares will take place in the last days. Now, I don’t know if what he found shocked him, but it definitely startled me! How about you, Carl?
Carl: Well, you’re right! When I was reading through the book, and I’m not quite done with it yet, but I’ve been going through it pretty hot and heavy the last few days. He was—he was very observant. He understood what was happening; he could see it unfold before him. So yes, there are some things in there that I was surprised about. There were other things, Tom, I was super excited about! I went through the section toward the back end of the Parliament of World Religions, and here’s the thing with the Parliament of World Religions: Samuel [Andrews], he was in that era when the first parliament happened.
Carl: Now the next parliament didn’t take place for almost 100 more years. In fact, the next parliament was 1993, the first one being 1893. But I’ve gone to a couple of them. I went to the parliament in 2018, and I went to the parliament in 2015, and I’m reading—I’m reading Samuel [Andrews], and he’s ascribing the first one, that initial starting point, and how pantheism plays a role in all this. I’m reading this and going, “Oh, if he could now just see where it had all gone….” But he didn’t have to see. He already could tell by the curvature of history where we were going.
So here’s the question I have for you, Tom, I have to ask this: Where did you get this guy? This is awesome! I mean, really good stuff!
Tom: You know, to put this in perspective, Carl, I wrote an article titled “God’s Plan for the Clueless: A Personal Testimony.” I wrote this for young people who were believers and say, “Well, what does God want me to do?” You know, they have all these concerns and so on. And I explained to them before I knew God, I was a reprobate, a hedonist to the max. But if you look back at my life and you can’t see the elements that God allowed in my life and then used to His glory brought me to Himself…in other words, God orchestrated those things. Can I take any credit for them? I didn’t even know Him! You know? But I’m here and I’m there…you know, I mean, I’m not going to go into all the details of it.
Folks, if you’re interested, you can look that up on our website: “God’s Plan for the Clueless: A Personal Testimony.” That’s what I would apply to this!
To answer your question, I had no idea who this guy was. I do remember that—I’m almost sure, but I could never find it again—that I had…somebody sent me, not the original version, but it was a copy of the original version, and I lost it somehow. I just blew it off. Then it came around again, and this time God got my attention. And I thought, You know, we can’t send this book out the way it is, because it’s just a poor copy of all of that. So I said, “We have to reprint this book.”
Smarts? Nada. Or I like to say my second language is Yiddish: bupkis, okay? It was bupkis! No, but it’s like I think about Abram—God called him out. All I knew was that He wanted me to follow Him, and that’s what I’ve tried to do, and that’s how this book came about.
And, Carl, we’re going to have to get into it: How did you show up in my life? You knew Dave, you had spent some time with Dave, but I didn’t know who you were. And I found you looking for something else, and you show up! Listen we want God to orchestrate our lives…
Tom: And the verse that I love where it says, “God intended.” I want to have in my life what God intended for me. I don’t want to balk at it, I don’t want to drag my heels, although I do tell people, “I’m not led of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has to grab me by the crook of the neck.” And I don’t go kicking and screaming, but that’s what I want! That’s what you want, right?
Carl: Mm-hmm. That’s right, that’s right.
Tom: Folks, I hope that’s what you want.
Carl: Well, here’s the thing: I’m going to give you my two cents worth regarding this book Christianity and Anti-Christianity in Their Final Conflict. What strikes me about Samuel Andrews is that he’s not ahead of the curve, he’s in the curve.
Now let me unpack this a little bit: I used to be a road surveyor many, many, many, many moons ago. Thirty-plus years ago I was doing construction work on highways as a road surveyor, okay? I know what it means and what it’s like to literally to survey out the curve of a road. And it’s interesting, because if you’re surveying a road curve, a big sweeping curve, you have to establish many points of reference if you can’t see the other side of that curve. So you have to establish points of reference. You see where the road went from being straight to having a transition point, and then you mark and understand and plot out the curve trajectory of its arc. And at some point if you can’t see the end of the curve, you’ve got to reestablish another point, and then another point. There may be a forest in the way of your ability to see a straight line, because this is all old school surveying technology, not like today. And so you’d have to plot out different points of reference around that curve. Even though you couldn’t see the end of the curve, you could understand where it was going, and you were able to successfully look backwards and then see the sweep of it to where you are and then see it coming up ahead of you. Most people driving through a curve don’t even think about the science or the technology of a curve, but there’s a lot of stuff going on in a curve.
He was inside the curve.
Carl: Your book, Tom’s book, Sorcerer’s New Apprentice, is another mark in the curve, another reference book further up in the curve. Game of Gods is another reference point further up in the curve. Each one seeing sections of that curve, each one looking back and seeing how the curve develops, each one looking forward to a limited point to what we can see. And then of all of them, the Bible being able to show us what the end of the curve looks like.
Tom: Yeah. And, you know, as I’ve said, Samuel Andrews 120 years ago; America, the Sorcerer’s New Apprentice 30-some years ago; Game of Gods, what is it, still—is the ink dry on your book? I mean, you know, anyway, without belaboring this, here’s where I want to start with Samuel Andrews book: well, one of the things he deals with, perhaps the most important one, is how do you get people to believe that they are God? That belief doesn’t happen overnight unless personal revelation comes through a drug trip or some extraordinary experience, which these things happen. But mostly it takes place through a process of increasing influences. The Bible refers to godhood for humanity as the lie. Satan as Lucifer in heaven, a created being, exalted himself to be equal with God. He offered godhood to Eve, and the Antichrist, possessed by Satan, is worshipped as God. But that’s what the Bible says, which is rejected by those who reject Jesus Christ. So what then are some of the unbiblical beliefs that could influence people into believing they are God? What did Samuel Andrews become aware of over a hundred years ago, and what did he conclude? Got some thoughts?
Carl: The importance of pantheism, the importance of seeing that nature is God and God is nature, and that man and nature and God are essentially all the same. He saw the rise of pantheism and he saw it specifically as a replacement for the materialist naturalist worldview, because that had a dead end. It hollows things out. It basically makes a shadow of your reality, and so man will not be looking for a dead end; man is looking for something. And so he recognized that. He recognized that, yes, naturalism has a certain trajectory, but eventually that trajectory ends. The arc of that curve…there’s an ending, there’s a dead end. And so there has to be a new continuation, and pantheism was what he recognized.
And, Tom, that’s the thing that surprised me, because the Parliament of the World Religions, the 1893 parliament, that’s [unintelligible] Andrew’s time! The 1893 parliament was where pantheism really entered the Western world, especially the American culture, in a significant way. And Andrews is nailing that one.
Tom: Yeah. And I’m glad that you said a significant way, because it’s been out there, as I mentioned before. It’s worked its way since, you know, for humanity, since the Garden of Eden, the lie.
Tom: But the…you know, as you’re saying, atheism, scientific materialism, it’s all hopeless; cannot be reconciled, given the makeup of human beings. Humans have a physical body, a non-physical mind, and a non-physical spirit within them. You know, scientific materialism rejects that. So all these are, as you said, evolution. It’s a pseudoscience. There’s no facts, no answers regarding the reality of life. Naturalism, you know, I love that…“Solve everything, we’ll just get back to nature.” Let’s, as Dave Hunt would like to say, “Let’s cozy up to a volcano.” Okay? I mean, not that there aren’t things…you know, we don’t want to abuse the earth, and so on, but these things cannot stand the scrutiny of commonsense.
Carl: Right. And the other thing that Andrews does, and I really appreciated this, was his recognition of how this would shape the moral—the moral aspect of life, the moral sphere. Naturalism first shapes it in one specific way, but then pantheism is shaped in a different way, because pantheism in the end says you’re God. “Tom, you’re a god. Carl, you’re a god. We’re all our individual gods.” And so where does morality rest? Well, it rests in me, right? Whatever I perceive, whatever I believe to be good for me becomes good for me! And if you stand in my way, well, so be it. I’ll run you down, right? We will pursue whatever carnal lusts we want. We’ll pursue whatever end goal we want, because there is no higher authority, there is no higher moral lawgiver. Every man becomes a god unto himself.
But what Andrews does is that he recognizes that that also doesn’t work, and so you’re going to need structures that will come in place. And that’s where we need to have a world system, a pantheistic world system with that final human representative of the divinity of man, the “son of lawlessness.”
Tom: Mm-hmm. Folks, as I mentioned before, this may seem complex, just because there are a lot of different elements, lot of different variables, as we’ve been talking about. But it’s very simple: God is infinite, we’re not. If we want to know anything about an infinite God, He has to communicate to us. If it’s our ideas, our views, which we’re going to get into, especially when we start talking about the philosophers that were impressive at the time of Samuel and later on. We’ll talk about that in a bit.
If we have God, the living God of the Bible who’s infinite and He communicates to us, then we have His Word, His truth, and so on. Because we’re finite, we need that. But if it lends itself to finite man, what have we got? We’ve got speculations, guesses, opinions, all of this stuff. And as I said, we’ll talk about philosophy—much of that is just that. But if that’s rejected, then it ends up in, as you’ve mentioned, pantheism, mysticism. You see, that’s what mysticism is all about. I use the phrase, “If wishes were horses, we’d all ride.” Okay? Because that’s what it is. It’s based on a wish. But it can’t fulfill—it can’t prove itself out, because if our lives are based on guesses and speculations and opinions and all of that stuff, well, we’re in the situation in which we are right now, and we can see this being played out in the world. They don’t know whether they’re coming or going. This guy’s got that idea, this guy has these ideas, and so on and so forth. No, if we want truth, we have to go to the truth-giver; we have to go to the Word of truth, God’s Word.
Carl: Well, let’s start with that then, Tom. What is God’s philosophy? It’s found in the book of Ecclesiastes. God’s philosophy is everything about your life is meaningless. The world has no meaning. Live, work, party, play, die, eat, die—ah! until the end of the book of Ecclesiastes where God’s philosophy comes forward, and the conclusion of the whole matter: “Fear God and obey His commands.”
Tom: Mm-hmm, yeah.
Carl: That’s God’s philosophy! Man’s philosophy is we look for all kinds of other ways to find meaning and purpose. We look for all kinds of other ways to find the answer to the question, “What is ultimate reality?” God’s philosophy is, “I am the ultimate reality.”
Tom: As I’ve mentioned to you before we went on the air, the last course that I took in my undergraduate degree was philosophy. Was not a good situation! So I have this attitude about it. So…and again, becoming a believer, I would put the term philosophy aside, because it’s guesswork. It’s trying to figure God out from a finite, fallen perspective, okay? So what we have is God’s truth versus the opinions and guesses of man. Now, there are different aspects of philosophy, so I’m not denying that. So, folks, don’t write to me, because you’ll probably give me a brain cramp trying to explain this. It’s on me, not on you, okay?
So going back to Samuel Andrews, who did he look to to come to the conclusion that this pantheism—you know, and some people would say it was pantheism, panentheism. Pantheism is everything is God; panentheism, God is in everything. But it’s basically all the same thing. It’s that we’re God. Where did he start looking at the philosophers? Who did he look to in his day? Spinoza, Emerson, Theroux (Theroux, nature mystic and pantheist), Schelling, Hegel…I mean, we could go down the list. Most of these people I have no clue who they are. I’m kidding, I’m kidding! This stuff washed over me, so I have picked up some things about it.
But let’s take Ralph Waldo Emerson: well, he was a pantheist. If you look at his stuff—back then I wasn’t a believer, so I had no criteria of truth to compare it to. But he basically was an antichrist-pantheist! Now, folks, I’m not the only one saying this, and some of his—people who wrote about him would lay this out. But let me give you a quote, because this is important: “Mr. Emerson,” I’m quoting from Christianity and Anti-Christianity in Their Final Conflict, “Mr. Emerson gives an illustration in his own person how he made his feelings to be the guide of his actions. He said in reference to the administration of the Lord’s Supper: ‘If I believe that it was enjoined by Jesus on His disciples and that He even contemplated making permanent this mode of commemoration as in every way agreeable to an Eastern mind, and yet on trial it was disagreeable to my own feelings,’ he says, ‘I should not adopt it.’”
Feelings! Very much of that going around today? “Hey, if it feels good, do it!”
Carl: You’re right, and that goes back to—okay, if I am my own god, and, Tom, if you are your own god, if there is no higher authority outside of nature, what becomes our standard to work with? Then it becomes just experiences and feelings. Nothing else really matters at that point. How else do we gauge what is real unless we feel it, unless we experience it? And that’s of course then the high danger of experiences when we attach a significance, a spiritual significance to how we feel. There’s a danger with that, a serious danger if we’re driven by our emotions and by our feelings and by our experiences. That has to become our standard by which we gauge reality.
Carl: The danger with that, Tom, being: they’re not trustworthy! You can’t trust your feelings, and there has to be a higher standard than just your feelings, right?
Tom: Right! Well, that’s the point: a chief characteristic of mysticism is its subjective aspect. It entails one’s personal thoughts, emotions, experiences, intuitions, and particularly feelings. Now, mysticism refrains from any objective evaluation or requirement. So how are you going to argue with somebody and say, “Well, this is the way I feel.”
Well, Carl, I’ve got a scenario for you: I know I throw a lot of these at you. So I say to Carl, “I’m aware that you believe that since you gave me $10 for a $5 item you purchased from me, you expect $5 back. But, Carl, I’m sorry, I just don’t feel that way.” Now, we laugh at that, but that’s the mentality!
Carl: I know, that’s it! That’s it. And, Tom, isn’t this what we’re seeing playing out literally on the streets of our world right now? Where our feelings now dictate, our emotions run wild. On the mystical side, the role of experiences and feelings is what drives the mystical worldview.
I’ll give you an example: when I was at the 2015 Parliament of World Religions (which goes back to Samuel Andrews book, a direct connection!), the 2015 parliament, I went to a workshop that asked the question, “Are we all one? And how do we know we’re all one?” And keep in mind, in this room was probably 3-400 people of dozens of different faiths. And the workshop facilitator asked everybody to go into a meditative state for a few moments, and I’m watching. I’m just watching everybody close their eyes and breathe deeply and go into this meditative state. And then he asked us all to shout out with a word or two our religious “aha!” moment, that moment in our religious experience that all of a sudden went, “[Gasp!]” and a realization of religion and spirituality. And so people were shouting out all kinds of things: joy, love, transcendence, unity, peace. And he stopped us and he said, “Listen to yourselves: you all represent many different faiths, but it doesn’t matter about your doctrine or your dogma. Obviously you’ve all had a feeling or an experience, and it is in that shared common experience, that is where we find our divinity. That is where we find our oneness.”
And I walked away from that going, Tom, wow! For us in the Christian world, even within the church where we sometimes really put our emphasis on feelings, how careful we have to be!
Tom: Hmm. Yeah, as I said, it’s wishful thinking. It’s when everything else shut down, as you articulated earlier. “Well, we’ve got to keep this going, because we cannot accept…” I’m talking about those who reject Jesus Christ, His Word; they’ve got to keep grasping for something. And that’s where the mystical comes in, that’s where the pantheistic... “Hey, does that make me feel? Is that a carrot on a stick, that I’m God?” Well, for many it is!
Tom: But that’s delusionary, okay? As I said simply, an infinite God—and He’s got to be infinite to create everything! I mean, He’s infinite, He’s omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, He has these qualities, and we do not have them.
Carl: Right, yeah! We are finite beings! This is the thing that continually throws me: who do we think we really are? We’re engaging, and I’ve said this in an earlier broadcast, we’re engaging in divine identity theft.
Carl: That’s serious!
Tom: Yeah, yeah. Folks, I hope you can see our heart in this. This isn’t just a matter of “we got the answer.” We don’t, the Word of God does, our infinite God who has communicated to us through His Word. And my hope, my prayer is that you’re getting into that communication every day! You want to hear from God? Get in the Word. Do it. Make this a habit. It’s the most important habit you will ever have, plus the joy of getting to know Him better—not because of what this writer said, not that there aren’t good writers out there, or this guy or that guy—but because it is the true and living God who loves us, who created us, who sent His Son to pay the full penalty for our sins. And the joy that comes out of growing in our understanding of that….
And, you know, Carl, I like the word “confidence.” Am I self-confident? I told you earlier, “Plan for the Clueless”! I’ve got no confidence there! But I do have my confidence in Jesus, in the Word of God and what He’s presented. So important—and that’s really what this is about. We’re trying to point out that here’s what God’s Word says, here’s what people are saying, and sadly, much of what people are saying in rejection to what God has said has come into the church. What do you think about that, Carl?
Carl: You’re right. I know we don’t have a lot of time, but you’re absolutely right. Here’s a thought I want to leave people with: really the question boils down to this: do you trust God, or do you trust in your feelings? Do you trust God’s Word, or do you trust in your own experiences? Which one do you choose? Which one do you stand on—God’s Word, or yourself?
Tom: Yeah. And we’ve said in a prior program, we don’t deny feelings. We don’t deny the experiences that we’ve had with the Lord, but these are the byproduct of our relationship with Him. It’s a personal, intimate relationship.
Tom: The byproduct is feelings, the joy that we can have, and so on. But that’s the cart after the horse—and remember, I picked on you as a farmer, Carl—tell us what happens when the cart gets ahead of the horse?
Carl: It’s chaos!
Tom: That’s right! It’ll go right into a ditch.
Carl: That’s right!
Tom: I know we’re laughing about that, but, folks…
Carl: It’s true!
Tom: …hopefully that communicates—that’s an important part. The love that we have, yes, part of it’s emotional and so on, but it’s truth. It’s based in truth.
So, Carl, once again, terrific! I so enjoy this. I hope the folks watching and listening, we’re trying to edify, we’re not trying to just entertain or let our personalities come out here. We just want the Word of God and the truth, and we want them to be encouraged in what we’re saying. And we have, as I said, these books available if you’re interested. But you could just track with us, you know, however you want to go about it.
So, brother, again, God bless you! Look forward to next week.
Carl: Excellent. Likewise as well, Tom.