Sometimes We Try Too Hard

The incredible changes that occur in us at that wonderful moment when the Lord calls His elect to salvation cannot be adequately described by mere words. Internally, we sense a new joy, a new freedom from the burden of sin that helps us to view each new day as a miracle of Divine love. Externally, we strive to live our lives in accordance with God's will as revealed in the Scriptures. Sometimes, our zeal to please our Lord may lead us to make errors of excess. These excesses may take many forms, such as an ecumenical drive to bring all faiths into one church without regard to doctrine, tolerating sinful lifestyles in the name of love, seeing heresy where none exists, etc.

I received an example of spiritual excess in my email. The communication concerned some of the coins circulating in the European Union, a political entity that some link with the Beast of Revelation. The email included the comment: “Check out these new 2002 official European Union coins. Looks like the queen of heaven and her church have staked out their kingdom”

The first coin mentioned was the French 5 Euro Cent piece. The obverse of this coin features a stylized head of a woman wearing a cap with a cockade on it. The emailer commented: “This 2002 coin is labeled “Marianne” or Mary. Obviously the queen of heaven, not the humble Mary of the Bible (Jeremiah 7 and 44; Revelation 18:7)”

This is what the official site of the French President has to say about Marianne:

The earliest representations of a woman wearing a Phrygian cap, an allegorical figure of Liberty and the Republic, made their appearance at the time of the French Revolution. The origins of the name Marianne are uncertain. Marie-Anne was a very common first name in the 18th century, and she thus came to represent the people; the counter-revolutionaries used the name derisively when referring to the Republic.

The Phrygian cap, the symbol of liberty, used to be worn by freed slaves in Greece and Rome. Mediterranean seamen and convicts manning the galleys also wore a similar type of cap, and revolutionaries from the South of France are believed to have adopted the headgear.

Under the Third Republic, statues, and especially busts, of Marianne began to proliferate, particularly in town halls. She was represented in several different manners, depending on whether the aim was to emphasize her revolutionary nature or her "wisdom." Occasionally, the Phrygian cap was felt to be too seditious, and was replaced by a diadem or a crown.

In recent times, Marianne has taken on the aspect of famous actresses. She also features on everyday articles such as postage stamps and coins.-- Symbols of the Republic: Marianne

It seems that the woman depicted on this coin is not symbolic of Catholic hegemony but of French liberty and the French Republic, much in the way that Liberty once was proudly displayed on American coins, or as she still stands on Liberty Island in New York City.

The proper name Marie is the French form of Miryam, who is known to English speakers as Mary, the maiden used of God to incarnate the Word. It stands to reason that, in pre-Revolutionary Catholic France, Marie would have been a favored name to give baby girls, even as it is today. Catholic mythology teaches that the Virgin Mary's mother was named Anne, thus the combination name Marie-Anne, or Marianne. As the French President's web site explains, the name Marianne came to represent the common people of France, just as the names Jane Doe and John Doe have come to represent the common people in the USA.

The originator of the informative email is to be commended for his zeal for the Lord, but his information concerning Marianne is wrong. She no more represents the Queen of Heaven than John Doe represents the beloved Apostle.

The next coin examined was the French 50 Euro Cent piece. The emailer commented: “This coin is labeled the "Sower." No doubt this “woman” is hiding leaven in the meal (Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:21; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; Galatians 5:9)”

I don't know where The emailer came up with the idea that the “woman” was hiding leaven in the meal for, by definition, the Sower would be sowing seeds, not carrying meal or mixing leaven into her seeds. Oscar Roty created the image of Marianne as 'la Semeuse' (the Sower), that appeared on French ½, 1, 2 and 5 franc coins from 1897 until 1958.

La Semeuse is still a symbol of the French franc. Looking at the picture, readers will notice that she looks very much like the beautiful Walking Liberty image, that used to grace American coinage such as the 1917 Walking Liberty half dollar at the top of this page.. The European Central Bank makes this comment concerning the image of la Semeuse on the new French coins: “10, 20 and 50 cent coins: The theme of the sower is a constant in the history of the French franc. Designed by Laurent Jorlo, "this modern, timeless graphic represents France, which stays true to itself, whilst integrating into Europe”

The next new European coin mentioned as having a link to biblical prophecy was the Greek 2 Euro Coin, about which the emailer wrote: “This 2002 coin is labeled Europa (a female goddess) sitting on Zeus (a bull). Europa is a figure from Greek mythology after whom Europe was named.

While it certainly is possible that the designers of this coin were preparing the way for the woman of Revelation 17, that image also would say “Greece” to those who handle the new coin. Cultural pride or demonic activity? God knows which.

The European Central Bank describes the Greek 2 Euro in these terms: “ This coin depicts a scene from a mosaic in Sparta (third century AD), showing Europa being abducted by Zeus, who has taken the form of a bull. Europa is a figure from Greek mythology after whom Europe was named.

According to Greek mythology, Europa was the granddaughter of Poseidon. Zeus, the horny chief of the Olympians, loved her. As an expression of his love, he assumed the form of a perfect white bull and kidnapped her. Once he had Europa where he wanted her, Zeus abandoned the bull disguise and changed into an eagle, and then ravished Europa. This myth can be linked to the Babylonian mystery religion. It certainly does have a lot to do with pagan fertility rites, for Europe is a synonym for the full moon and a title for the Moon-goddesses Demeter and Astarte. (Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, © 1996, The Folio Society, pp. 186ff)

Those who read the Bible may know Astarte as Astaroth, for in 1 Chronicles 10:10 we see the Phoenicians carrying Saul's armor to her temple. The Babylonians knew her as Ishtar. A respected Bible dictionary tells us that:

…By the time of the Israelite confederation many of the populace apparently had become involved at least periodically in cultic observance of the Ashtaroth (cf. Judg. 2:13)…No less a figure that King Solomon engaged in the worship of this deity, particularly after numerous political marriages with foreign women. According to 1 Kgs. 11:15 he introduced the worship of the Sidonian Ashtoreh and the Ammooonite Milcom. For that reason God took the kingdom from his son Rehoboam and gave a great portion to Jeroboam (v. 33)…With heightened pressure from the Babylonians and the imminent fall of Jerusalem, Josiah's cultic reforms dissipated and this deity, in its Babylonian manifestation as Ishtar, was worshipped openly (“queen of heaven,” Jer. 7:18; 44:17-19) – Allen C. Myers, Revision Ed., The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, © 1987, William B. Eeerdmans Publishing Company, pp. 95-96

The fourth new coin that that the emailer examined was the Euro 10 Cent Coin used by Italy, San Marino and Monaco. He described its obverse in these words: “Italy's new EU coin is called, "The birth of Venus" another goddess image (Acts 19:24-35; Revelation 2:20-22). This false goddess appears to be reigning over many nations as the Bible warns (Isaiah 47; Zechariah 5)”

All eight of the Italian Euro coins bear images of world famous works of art and architecture. The European Central Bank provides this description of the Italian dime: “This commemorates one of the greatest triumphs in Italian art. It shows one of the most famous works in the world, the "Birth of Venus" by Sandro Botticelli.”

Of course, the very lovely Botticelli painting that contributed to the design of this coin does portray the birth of the mythical Roman goddess of love, who can be traced back to the Babylonian mystery religion:

Aphrodite('foam-born') is the same wide-ruling goddess who rose from Chaos and danced on the sea, and who was worshipped in Syria and Palestine as Ishtar, or Ashtaroth. – Robert Graves, Op. cit., p. 55

The last of the coins the emailer mentioned was the Vatican Euro Coin. The email emailer made this comment: “And of course, the Vatican's own Euro Coin with guess who's depiction (Revelation 13:12-17). Now why would the “Vicar” of Christ want his image on a coin? (Matthew 22:20,21)” The coin at the left is the Vatican's 2005 2 Euro, which sports the same image of John Paul II as do the other 7 2005 Vatican coins. The third series of Vatican Euro coins, released in April 2006, all bear the likeness of Pope Benedict XVI.

Following his comments on the coins, The emailer tied things together with these words:

For a long time now, the demonic enemies of Christ have been preparing the world, not only for the Antichrist, but also for the women (sic) who rides him. She comes in Christ's name, but she is a harlot according to God's Word. She is the false Christian church and she will be headed by the queen of heaven. She is not the Mary of the Bible, but rather an impostor who is known by many titles: Ashtoreth, Astarte, Venus, Diana, queen of heaven, Our Lady, Lady of all Nations, Artemis, Sophia, Tara, Divine Mother, Shing Moo, Holy Mother, Demeter, Isis, and many others.

He then posted short quotes “concerning the reemergence of the Divine Mother goddess” from the work of Beatrice Bruteau and Caitlin Matthews, that “express the sentiment of millions.” I'm not going to post those quotes here for, while they may be relevant to the emailer's argument, I do not believe they merit consideration by reasonable Christians.

On the other hand, perhaps readers might like to know more about the authors whom the emailer calls upon to “express the sentiments of millions.”

I checked the Barnes and Noble online catalog for titles written by Beatrice Bruteau and I found a bunch. This woman must punch out books as fast as Stephen King. Then I looked for her name on the web and found plenty of sites. To give readers an idea of the kind of stuff she writes, I offer these opening paragraphs from one of her articles called Eucharistic Ecology and Ecological Spirituality:

Spiritual life, especially as contemplative life, follows a kind of cycle, or spiral, in which we first leave "the world," which is experienced as interfering with our contemplation. We "go apart for a while," even far apart from the world, from everything formed and finite, everything that can be spoken or conceived. We follow the via negativa, the way of not-using, not-speaking, not-knowing. We aspire to, and may eventually enjoy, the apophatic experience.

But the apophatic experience itself disabuses us of the notion that we have any such thing as "our contemplation," or even any separate substantiality. In the Night of the Absolute, everything is empty. Having reached what we yearned to possess, we find that all distinctions have vanished, including the selves that had thought they could possess anything or desire to possess anything. Thus, for us there is nothing left to defend, nothing left to augment, nothing to prefer to something else, nothing to which to accord privilege.

At this point the distinction is lost between the Absolute itself and the world which we had "left" in order to go to the Absolute by not speaking, by not thinking of any form, by not identifying ourselves with our particular egoic point of view. We discover the paradox that the very distinction of the Absolute from the world, carried to the limit, destroys the distinction of the Absolute from the world. The contemplative, having attained union with the Absolute, discovers that the Absolute is engaged in creating the world; and so, the contemplative too, as united with the Creator, must engage in self-emptying into the world. Once coincided with, the Transcendent--initially set over against the relative, the embodied--reveals itself as self-expressive as the relative, the embodied, the world.--Beatrice Bruteau, Eucharistic Equality and Ecological Spirituality, Cross Currents, Winter90-91, Vol. 40 Issue 4, p499, 16p, © 1991

Well, that certainly makes sense to me……Not!

The Barnes and Noble catalog on Caitlin Matthews runs to three online pages. This lady writes on 'interesting' things like the Tarot cards, shamanism, and the ancient religion of the Celts. Rather than post an excerpt of her work, I'll draw upon a review of one of Matthews' books by Donna Scanlon:

Matthews divides the 365 readings (there is none for February 29) into the seasons marked by the festivals of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasa. Each meditation begins with a quote from some source of Celtic mythology or scholarship, or writing inspired by Celtic influences which reflects the theme for the day. The short meditation follows, exploring the theme more carefully. Finally, an "invitation" or instruction of some kind concludes the reading. This could be a question on which to meditate further, a visualization exercise, or even an activity.

The meditation for March 5, for example, suggests that you check the direction of the wind against your prevailing mood each day and to record the results, also noting the weather at the time. August 9 asks you to commune with the moon and to note any mood changes with the phases. The overall result is to open and extend one's awareness, whether or not one notes a correlation…Matthews is a proponent of "Celtic shamanism" and while she never directly claims that her spiritual path is linked straight to that of the ancient Celts, those giving the introductory material a cursory glance may draw that conclusion -- which has no basis in historical accuracy. Still, one can appreciate the roots from which the "Celtic path" has been drawn.--Donna Scanlon, The Celtic Spirit: Daily Meditations for the Turning Year, Rambles.net, a cultural arts e-zine

I was unable to learn anything about the emailer's theological credentials, but I did discover that he apparently has published a single article, which appears on a few web sites that might be described as providing little evidence of the owners' exercise of discernment. He also appears to have produced three 'religious' videos dealing with Marian apparitions, prophecy and evolution v creationism.

It should be fairly well-known, at least among Internet Catholics, that I am no lover of the Catholic Church and that I give absolutely no credence to any of her seemingly endless chain of heavenly apparitions. As far as I am concerned the doctrine and practices of the Romish Church provide an great variety of heresies for the Christian polemic to choose from when seeking subject matter for a study. There is no need to create new ones out of whole cloth, as it were.

In his email, the emailer apparently seeks to present the images on the obverse of five of the new Euro coins as part of a great Catholic conspiracy that will culminate in the predicted reality of the prophetic vision of the woman and beast of Revelation 17. That those things mentioned in Revelation will come to pass is beyond question, for they are prophesied in God's inerrant Word. However, looking for, and finding, evidence of the great Antichrist conspiracy in every act of men and nations—which I am not suggesting the emailer did—seems a lot like checking under one's bed for burglars before retiring.

I don't pretend to know how the emailer did his research, but I know how I did mine. When checking out the five coins he commented on, I also checked every other new Euro coin—eight coins from each of the nations participating in the common currency—104 coins in all

I was surprised that The emailer did not include the German 10, 20 and 50 Euro cent coins in his report. The obverse of each of these coins shows the Brandenburg Gate, a structure well-known to those who followed events concerning the Berlin Wall.

Look closely at the coin. That little doohickey at the top of the gate is called the Quadriga. It presents the goddess Eirene in a charior pulled by four horses. Eirene was one of the three Horae. The three Horae were daughters of ever-randy Zeus and the nymph Themis. Individually, they were goddesses of Justice (Dike), Peace (Eirene) and lawfulness (Eunomia). Working together, they regulated the cycles of time and were the gatekeepers of Olympus. Eirene was the goddess of peace. Seems to me that The emailer overlooked an opportunity to strengthen his Catholic hegemony conspiracy theory by relating Germany's Eirene to Rome's Our Lady of Peace. That relationship would have been at least as strong as the others he drew, which weren't very strong at all.

Could it be that, in his research for his email, The emailer also overlooked the new small denomination Portuguese coins? The obverse of the Portuguese 5, 2 and 1-Euro Cent coins bear the image of Portugal's first royal seal, dating from 1134 AD, in the center.. Notice that the seal spells out the word “Portugal,” with the enlarged T presented as a cross. Given that the state religion of Portugal is Catholicism, it seems much could be made of the cross as symbolizing, for example, that false religion. Of course, it could be that the image represents the cross upon which our Savior gave His life in payment of our sins. Probably was a good idea to not point to the Portuguese coins.

A lot of people seem to be in the prophecy business these days. Remember all the doomsday prophecies concerning the New Millennium? How many of them came true? I wonder if some who read this might not still be eating provisions set aside in anticipation of the great famine of the New Millennium.

I believe that every Christian should have at least a basic familiarity with End Times prophecy, but I do not believe that we should focus the bulk of our spiritual energy on trying to unravel the events of Daniel's 70th week. What is prophesied will happen in God's own time. Our job is to live our lives in accordance with His will, to prepare ourselves for the glorious return of our Lord and Savior, and to worship God.

When Christians study eschatology, it is vitally important to exercise sound discernment, lest we read things into the Scriptures that God never put there. For those interested in studying the End Times in greater detail, I suggest you acquire a copy of what I consider to be the best eschatology book in print: Dwight Pentecost's Things to Come.

As for me, I'm not going to fret about life during the Great Tribulation. I don't plan on being around then. I know that when Christ returns to rapture His church, I will be joining Him in the clouds, not hanging around on earth to participate in the Great Tribulation.

Read your Bible. Turn to God (Isaiah 45:22). You still have time.

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