Tuesday, 15 April 2014

God's Not Dead -- A Close Examination

God's Not Dead -- A Close Examination

The movie 'God’s Not Dead' was recently released in theatres. It shares its title with the hit song by the Christian rock band the Newsboys. I have not seen the movie, so I will leave its review to others. The subject of this expose is the lyrics and official music video of the title song by the boy-band.

You can see the music video later on in this post. 

As with all things that proclaim to be Christian, we must test the spirits to see if it lines up with the Bible, the Word of God. 1 John 4:1 tells us: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

Let us first look to the Word to see what it has to say about trying the spirits and the fruit. The Word is our standard for living—for every thing and every aspect of life.

Deut 16:20a says: “That which is altogether just shalt thou follow”. We know that God’s inspired holy Word is true and just and without error. 2 Tim 3:16-17: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” So we see that if something lines up with scripture, it is of God. If it does not line up—whether wholly or just in part—we are to avoid such. We are only to follow that which is “altogether just.”

Paul tells us in Romans 16:17-18 to “Mark them which cause divisions and offences [stumbling blocks] contrary to the doctrine [the Word] which ye have learned; and avoid them [ not listen to the good and discard the bad. Why?—] For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” These are the same people Jesus warned us about: “Beware of false prophets [which also means ‘one who teaches or explains’ ie: anyone who preaches or shares the gospel], which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Matt 7:15-16a. They are the hirelings Jesus tells us about in John 10:11-14 “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”

We must realize that the wolves in sheep’s clothing and hirelings will act, talk, and look like true believers. They may wear the facade of God’s ‘sheep’, but beneath the costume they are actually false prophets who have infiltrated the flock in attempt to draw away the elect. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” 2 Cor 11:13-15. Wolves--whether in sheep's clothing or not--will do what wolves do: devour! The ones who wear the Christian façade are far more dangerous because it's with them that we let our guard down. We shrug it off by saying, "Oh, it's Christian, so it must be ok." or  "Even if it's not 100%, it's still better than the secular." Is it?! When we let our guard down, we open ourselves up to whatever we are feeding on--whether it's background music or not. We are to be diligent, vigilant, and always on guard.

1 Thess 5:21 admonishes us to Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

In the last days, which we are presently living in, God will send a strong delusion (2 Thess 2:11). A few verses earlier in verse 3, God tells us that there will be a ‘falling away’.  He also warns “Let no man deceive you by any means.” Why? Verse 9-10 tells us it’s the workings (the M.O.) of Satan “with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received no the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”

Jesus warned us ‘Be not deceived’ etc many times. “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Matt 24:24. We must not be fooled by their pious façade or the seemingly miraculous signs they perform. Remember, Pharaoh’s magicians did the same signs that Moses and Aaron did. But we know full well that they were not doing so by God’s power. (Ex 7:22.) Warnings of deception are all through the New Testament:
Matt 24:4-5, 11, 23-24, 26; Mark 13:5-6, 21-22; Col 2:8, 18; 2 Thess 2:3; 1 John 4:1; etc.

Eph 5:6-11: “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”  We are to be on the lookout for deception and have no fellowship with those spreading it (vs 7, 11). We are told to Prove what is acceptable unto the Lord.”—this means differentiating between that which is acceptable and what is unacceptable. This means we are to judge. Judging is absolutely biblical! If we are commanded to not be deceived, we therefore must judge to see if it lines up with scripture or not. 

Jesus tells us to “judge righteous judgement” (John 7:24). How do we do this? We need to be fruit inspectors. We also have the guidebook—the Bible. If it doesn’t wholly line up with scripture, it’s false and not of God.

1 Cor 2:15 informs us that “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things”.

Paul called out people by name—he did this several times in scripture. One example is 2 Tim 4:14: “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works.”

The only time we are NOT to judge is told in Matt 7:1-4: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?” In other words, we have no business pointing out sin in someone else’s life when we have not yet cleaned up our own. These are the verses most people in charismatic circles, etc, love to quote and drill into the flock so no one will judge their fruit and wake up to their false teachings. But if you continue reading, you will notice in vs 5 there is more to the story. Jesus goes on to say: “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.” Once the beam is removed from our eye, then we can deal with the mote in our brother’s. The Bible must be read in context. Remember: a text read out of context becomes a pretext.

Paul tells us in 2 Cor 2:11 that we should not be ignorant of Satan’s devices, lest he should get an advantage of us.

Let us also bear in mind what Proverbs 18:13 says: “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” Please do not be offended by something stated and click off the page before hearing me out. It is only when we approach things with an open mind, compare everything to the truth of scripture, and prayerfully consider our next move that we can be led by the Spirit in the right direction.

Therefore, having laid this groundwork, let us examine the lyrics of the hit song God’s Not Dead to see what they might reveal under the magnifying glass of the Word of God—the standard. Does this video’s message wholly line up with scripture? Does it deviate even slightly? We must carefully examine what we allow our minds to feed on. So with this in mind, let us take a closer look:

God’s Not Dead –  by the Newsboys
Let love explode and bring the dead to life
A love so bold to see a revolution somehow

Revolution—this word is not in the Bible. Anytime a revolt (which is the root word) is mentioned, it is never in a favourable light. It’s revolting against God and His commands. The Biblical definition: to revolt is to turn aside or transgress. So what is this doing in a Christian song?

Let love explode and bring the dead to life
A love so bold to bring a revolution somehow

Now I'm lost in Your freedom

No where in scripture does God tell us to be ‘lost’ in anything—good or bad. In fact, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10. You may argue ‘Well, that’s just phrasing. It doesn’t mean lost, as in, without God.’ My reply is simply this: if it’s truly a Christian song, it should line up with scripture—phrasing included.

In this world I'll overcome

1 John 5:4 tells us that faith in Jesus Christ the Lord, the Son of God, is what overcomes the world. But it must be an active, living, obedient faith. We shall look closer at this when we discover what faith this song speaks of in a moment.

[2x]
My God's not dead
He's surely alive
He's living on the inside
Roaring like a lion
(I will tackle the chorus at the end)

Roaring, He's roaring, roaring like a lion

Let hope arise and make the darkness hide


Light makes the darkness flee, not hope. John 12:46: “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” John 1:4-5: “In him [Jesus] was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”

My faith is dead I need resurrection somehow

So here we see their faith is dead. Faith without works is dead (James 2:17, 20, 26) God repeats it 3 times in 10 verses! He didn’t just put it there to fill up more space. When God repeats something it means it’s very important and we need to take note.

Faith is more than just believing. James 2:19 tells us the devils believe that there is one God—and they tremble. But they certainly are not going to heaven. Faith and believing = obedience to God’s Word. We must live it. This is why works (living it out) prove our faith in God. If we are truly saved, we will bear the fruit of the Spirit. Those with dead faith are those who Jesus spoke of in Matt 7:20-23: “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

The latter part of the lyric says “I need resurrection…somehow.” Don’t they know how? And yet, we’re supposed to take the rest of their advice from this song as doctrinally pure?

Now I'm lost in Your freedom
In this world I'll overcome

[2x]
My God's not dead
He's surely alive
He's living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

Roaring, He's roaring, roaring like a lion
He's roaring, He's roaring

[3x]
Let heaven roar
When does heaven ever roar? I can't find it in my Bible…

And fire fall
Come shake the ground


Both of these are signs of judgment in the Bible—never revival.

Fire is a form of judgment:

God is a consuming fire. (Deut 4:24; Heb 12:29)
1 Cor 3:12-15
“Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”


Or punishment:

Daniel 3:13-30 tells of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being thrown into the fiery furnace as punishment for not bowing to another god.

Fire is also a way of purging and testing:

Mal 3:2-3
“But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”
Matt 3:11-12
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Matt 7:19
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” Matt 13:40, 42 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. … And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
1 Peter 1:7
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”


Another use of fire that is an abomination to God is that of heathen worship to the pagan god Molech. Deut 18:9-10a “When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire,…”

Earthquakes in the scriptures also denote judgment:

In the last days and tribulation Matt 24:7; Rev 6:12; 8:5; 11:13, 19.

Dathan and Abiram rebel against Moses and God in the wilderness. (Num 16). Deut 11:6 sums it up for us in one verse:
“And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel.”

With the sound
Of revival

[4x]
My God's not dead
He's surely alive
He's living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

He's roaring, He's roaring, He's roaring like a lion [2x]

Who does the Bible say roars like a lion? In every instance of a roaring lion in the Bible, it is NEVER God.  The most well-known verse sums it up: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Pet 5:8.  If you want to look up the other verses pertaining to roaring lions, here they are: Job 4:10; Ps 22:13; Prov 19:12; 20:2; 28:15; Is 5:29; 31:4; Ez 22:25; Zeph 3:3; Zech 11:3.
Some might argue that this lyric is about Jesus as the lion of the tribe of Judah. Jesus is the lion of the tribe of Judah but the Bible never says He roars like a lion. It’s always the enemy shown roaring.

So this song says that their God, who is alive and lives inside of them, roars like a lion—according to the Bible, we know who this song's god really is!

Just because someone speaks of God does not mean they are referring to the true, holy God of the Bible. There are many gods in this world. Deut 20:18 “That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the Lord your God.”
2 Cor 4:4 “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

Although there is more that could be said regarding these lyrics, I think it best to stop here. Sometimes delving into the minute details causes the main focus to be lost and I do not want that to happen. 

Let us then move on to the official music video to see if it has anything to say to us.
 
 

For 2:22 minutes of the 4:30 minute video we are bombarded with words proclaiming to us that God is a myth, etc.

Now, I already know the argument: “They are telling a story! There’s a progression and they end with the fact that God’s not dead.” I more than realize their attempt at storytelling. But this is nothing less than subliminal messaging. Wait! Before you click off this page in disgust, please hear me out. This is exactly how subliminals work. If they flash the real message they want to get across at our subconsciences long enough it will begin to bend our mind in that direction. Whether you believe this is the case or not, it’s fact. Do some research for yourself on subliminals. It's a very interesting subject. Search Al Neal’s lectures on subliminals and mind control—they are excellent and readily available on YouTube.

The fact that this video spends over half its time proclaiming God is a myth ought to tell you something. The majority of their real message is opposite of what the title conveys.

At the 3:11 minute mark we find another subliminal. I found the blatancy of this one absolutely shocking. It tells us plainly of which path this song sings.  “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and BROAD is the WAY, that leadeth to desctruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matt 7:13-14. Why else would they focus in on the street sign ‘Broadway’?! Coincidence? I think not. They are telling you something, whether you are aware of it or not, and whether you believe it or not.

Another thing in the video that openly goes against scriptures is at the 2:41 minute mark where an image of ‘Jesus’ is shown. The Bible forbids such. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” Ex 20:4. “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.” Acts 17:29. Any such image is not of the true Jesus of the Bible. There are many who will be portrayed as Christ—and deceive many. (Matt 24:5, 23-24). This image is of the New Age ‘Jesus’ who is also known as Sananda. It is not the King of kings and Lord of lords of scripture. And it should have no place in a true Christian music video.

By the end of the video we are engaged in a full fledged rock concert. Their red, white, and black striped armbands intrigue me.  While I admittedly do not know their 'official' reason for wearing these, one thing is clear: they are obviously wearing them for a reason.  What intrigues me is their choice of colours. The last time I saw an armband flaunting these three colours it was the infamous emblem of WWII. After some research online I have found that red, black, and white are the colours of the occult. You will see this on many music album covers, magazines pictures, etc. They are used to convey a message. See for yourself--simply Google: "red black and white occult colours" and see what comes up.

One final aspect that should be pointed out briefly is the fact that the genre is ‘Christian rock’. That term is an oxymoron at best. True biblical Christianity cannot be attached to the genre of rock. It is impossible for them to coexist. You can find a plethora of information on this subject. Just do a simple search on YouTube. Peter Accardi has a few lectures on the subject that are excellent. You can listen to his playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAAF7ECA7A678B6B4  I recommend videos 1 through 8. The rest are mainly repetitive.

Remember, we must “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thess 5:21). It is only “That which is altogether just shalt thou follow.” (Deut 16:20a).

You have seen the video and heard the message.
You have been shown by scripture to test the spirits.
You have seen by the Word that the lyrics and subliminals do not line up with God’s truth.
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deut 30:19. “…Choose you this day whom ye will serve; …but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Josh 24:15.


~ One last thing I need to mention: I am not suggesting that God cannot use the movie God's Not Dead to reach out to someone and show them the truth. I personally was born again under a ministry that God has since opened my eyes and exposed to be false. God can most certainly use anything to reach out to people. However, once we are saved we should avoid anything that is not doctrinally sound.

Friday, 7 June 2013

The British Josiah

I have always been fascinated with the story of king Josiah in the Bible. (You can find his story beginning in 2 Kings 21.)

Josiah was only 8 years old when he was crowned king. Although his father did evil in God's sight, little Josiah set out to seek the Lord and do what was right. (Unlike today's society that would have used their 'bad' parents as an excuse to sin--a victim of their unfortunate environment.) Josiah cared more for what God thought than what people thought. He placed God as his first priority.

I like that! What an inspiration! And from an 8 year old!

I read an account of England's King Edward VI. I wish I could tell you the magazine in whose pages i found it, but I've long forgotten. Here it is:
 

the british josiah
The remarkable story of King Edward VI, the young prince who became king when he was only nine years old. He was soon known among the people of the nation as “The British Josiah” not only because of his age (like the biblical king Josiah, who became king at age 8) but also because of his desire to seek after the Lord while still very young. He died when he was only sixteen, and his cousin, Lady Jane Grey, was given the throne. She was Queen for only nine days when Edward’s cousin, known as “Bloody Mary,” was given the throne in her place. An excerpt from The British Josiah, as sixteen-year-old Lady Jane was about to be beheaded for refusing to embrace Catholicism reads: “From the scaffold she spoke earnestly to spectators: ‘Good people, touching the procurement of the crown on my behalf, I do wash my hands thereof before God. I did not desire it….I do look to be saved by no other means, but by the mercy of God in the blood of His only Son Jesus Christ…and I confess when I did know the word of God, I neglected the same, loved myself and the world, and thereby this…punishment is worthily happened to me, and yet I thank God that in His goodness He hath thus given me time to repent.’ Kneeling down, she asked permission and quoted all of Psalm 57....Laying her head on the block, she said, ‘Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit.’”

 
Psalm 57
Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee; yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.
I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.
He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.
My soul is among lions; and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.
Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above the earth.
They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves.
My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.
I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.
For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.
Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above the earth.

One Day at a Time

I came across this poem some time ago. I read it everyday. It speaks on so many different levels. It has encouraged me countless times. I hope it touches you, as well.


ONE DAY AT A TIME
                  
One day at a time, with its failures and fears,

With its hurts and mistakes, with its weakness and tears,

With its portion of pain and its burden of care;

One day at a time we must meet and must bear.

  

One day at a time to be patient and strong;

To be calm under trial and sweet under wrong;

Then its toiling shall pass and its sorrow shall cease;

It shall darken and die, and the night shall bring peace.

 

One day at a time—but the day is so long,

And the heart is not brave, and the soul is not strong,

O Thou pitying Christ, be Thou near all the way;

Give courage and patience and strength for the day.

 

Swift cometh His answer, so clear and so sweet;

“Yea, I will be with thee, thy troubles to meet;

I will not forget thee, nor fail thee, nor grieve;

I will not forsake thee; I never will leave.”

 

Not yesterday’s load we are called on to bear,

Nor the morrow’s uncertain and shadowy care,

Why should we look forward or back with dismay?

Our needs, as our mercies, are but for the day.

 

One day at a time, and the day is His day;

He hath numbered its hours, though they haste or delay.

His grace is sufficient; we walk not alone;

As the day, so the strength that He giveth His own.

                                                   —Annie Johnson Flint

                                                

Friday, 29 March 2013

An Update and a Look Forward


It is clearly evident that there was a big time lapse between my posts.
 
The past 4+ years of my life can be perfectly summed up by quoting Psalm 23: I have been walking “through the valley of the shadow of death.” It is not a fun place to be. Yet I've learned that it is in the hard times that God can do a work in us that cannot be accomplished otherwise.

Within these hard times of late, I have taken to jotting my thoughts on paper. As I have looked back over my notes, I find jewels of wisdom that God has shown me. They are not of my own invention. I know I still have a long way to go on my journey with Christ. But these notes have spoken to me time and time again as I have reread them.
 
As time allows in the near future, I intend to input these notes into my blog. I pray that they may help someone else as they have encouraged me through my tough times.

 

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

An Exposé of Christian Comedy


An Exposé of Christian Comedy

 ~ Bible-backed thoughts on the error of Christian comedy in the church today ~
 

Let me start by saying that it is with utmost love that I reach out to you concerning this important subject. I urge you to take a step back and see what the Bible says concerning such things.

Everyone has the right and privilege of free choice. You may choose to continue in this type of humor. That's your choice and I respect that freedom. But that doesn't mean I condone your choice. While we each have the right to our own opinions, as Christians we need to form those opinions based on the foundation of scripture. What God says about any issue should affect our stance in the matter. Personally, I refuse to back away from sound doctrine. I want God's will in my heart and life, no matter the cost.  

"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;" 2 Timothy 2:24-25

"These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee." Titus 2:15

The 'authority' is the scripture. Let's take a closer look at what the Bible says about the issue of Christian comedy.

Thanks to social media, this video was brought to my attention. Upon viewing it and then assessing it—as well as the thoughts and feelings it conjured within me—I began searching the scriptures. This exposé is the result.

 

A wise man of God once said: "There's plenty to laugh at in the world—but be sure you don't laugh at something that God takes seriously." ~ A.W. Tozer

First let me clarify that I am not an outsider looking in at a 'hand raising' church. While such a term encompasses several denominations, I will, for simplification purposes, use the term 'charismatic' in the general sense from here on end. I once attended just such a denomination for many years. So it is not in ignorance that I address this subject. I am quite familiar with what goes on in such a service as well as the terminology common to charismatics. It is also worth noting that I no longer attend such a church, but rather a more traditional denomination and service.

Another thing that needs to be made clear is that this critique is in no way against the practice of raising hands in worship to God. The Bible clearly states in both Old and New Testaments:

"Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord." Psalm 134:2

 "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands" 1 Timothy 2:8

 What I am speaking against is the outright mockery made of this biblical practice by a self-proclaimed 'Christian Comedian."

This is not an attack on Mr. Hawkins—God knows his heart, I don't. However the Bible instructs us to test the spirits and to assess the fruit:

"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. …Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matthew 7:15-16a, 18, 20-23

It is the fruit that is the focus of this exposé.

I have found from personal experience down through the years, that most comedians go too far. They don't just push it to the limit, they well overstep the boundaries. This holds true for 'Christian' comedians as well.

I once attended a Mark Lowry 'concert'. And while the majority of the evening he was hilarious—telling good, wholesome, stories and jokes—he eventually overstepped the boundary set forth in scripture. I will not repeat what he said, suffice to say he joked about the very thing 1 Corinthians 11:20-30 warns against.


Getting back to this particular video, I must say it mortifies me that 'Christians' would laugh at this mockery. I admit that I can see why people would find it funny, and there was a time in my life that I may have even chuckled at some of it. Thanks be to God for allowing me to see the error of my ways.

This is not something to joke about. The Bible tells us to lift 'holy' hands to God.

"I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands" 1 Timothy 2:8

It is an act of worship. And making jokes about something sacred is called blasphemy. Oops! Wait! Before you quit reading because of the mere mention of the 'B' word, let's look at the dictionary's definition of it and see if it might actually relate to our subject.

Blasphemy:
- The act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk.
- A contemptuous, impious, irreverent, or profane act, utterance, attitude, or writing concerning God or something considered sacred.
- The act of insulting, or showing contempt, or lack of reverence for God.

Suddenly seems to apply, doesn't it? In my research I found myself looking at the definitions of synonymous words—most of which are common (and as a result, are never looked at in detail). It was quite interesting and enlightening. I have provided my list of words and their definitions here for you. I hope it will be as informative to you as it was to me. 

Sacred:
- Dedicated to or set apart for the worship of Deity.
- Connected with God or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration. 

Veneration:
- Fear; a feeling of profound respect for someone.
- The fear of the Lord. 

Sacrilege:
- Violation (fail to respect), profanation, or misuse of what is regarded as sacred 

Profane:
- To treat something sacred with irreverence or disrespect.
- Marked by contempt or irreverence for God or sacred principles or things.  

Contempt:
- Scorn; Disdain; Disregard; Despised; Dishonor; Disgraced.
- The feeling or attitude regarding someone or something as inferior, base, or worthless.
- Lack of respect and reverence. 

Irreverence:
- Lack of reverence or due respect; Critical.
- A disrespectful act or remark.
- Satirical (critical; mocking; ridicule) 

Impious:
- Not showing respect or reverence.
- Lacking proper respect.

Respect:
- A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something.
- To feel and/or show deferential (submission or courteous yielding to the opinion, wishes or judgement of another; courteous respect; honor) regard for.
- Concern; Reverence.
- To avoid violation of or interference with.
- To regard with honour or esteem. 

Honor:
- High respect; Esteem. 

Reverence:
- Deep respect for; Profound awe, respect, adoring, and love; Veneration.
- The act showing respect.
- Respectful, submissive attitude. 

All of these words and definitions show that making fun of such things is wrong in the sight of God. Yet inevitably, even in the face of the dictionary's evidence, people will still argue this kind of humor is still ok. 'Relax!' 'Lighten up!' 'Don't be so 'religious'!' 'Jesus has a sense of humor—He's laughing too!' et al.

Really?  

First of all, let me clarify that I am not 'religious' in the sense of charismatic terminology (which paints it in a negative light). I am a born again Christian seeking to know God and His word and live it out by His strength each day He grants me breath. I am not some 'staunch religious stuff shirt' tied up in legalism.  

Having said that, I should also explain my position concerning the Law of God. According to the scriptures, Jesus did not do away with the Law, He came to fulfill it! 

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:17-19 

Under Old Testament law it was a sin to kill or commit adultery. But Jesus has made these laws an issue of the heart. Now if you hate or lust after another, you're as guilty as the one who has followed through and acted upon those thoughts: 

"Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. … Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28 

So did Jesus do away with the Law? Not at all! The Law abides to expose every person's hidden sin. It shows each of us that we are condemned by God because of our sin. The Law shows us we are morally bankrupt and in desperate need of a Saviour. And that is where Jesus comes in. 1 Timothy 1:9-10 tells us the purpose of the Law is for sinners, not the righteous:

"Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;" 

Galatians 3:24 says the Law is our schoolmaster for the purpose of bringing us to Christ: "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith."

If the Law were done away with, there would be no true converts to Christ.  

John 5:45 states "Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust."  Moses—the Law—accuses us, but Christ is the fulfillment of the Law and brings grace and mercy and forgiveness to those who repent.  


When we become born again Christians, we now live under grace. But that still does not mean that the Law is done away with. Nor does it mean that we do not have to follow His commands. The Law is now written in our hearts. We follow God's Law not out of 'have to,' but out of 'want to.' It is a willingness to follow springing forth from our love and fear of God. We follow His commands out of obedience to Him.
It is in essence the difference between a bondservant and a slave. A bondservant is one who's debt to his master is paid, but loves his master so much that he chooses to stay and serve him always. We are to be bondservants of Christ.
 
 

Getting back to our primary subject…

Generally speaking, there is nothing wrong with laughing. It is proven good for the soul and body. But it depends upon the subject of the humor whether we, as believers, should participate or abstain.  

It is commonplace for those in the charismatic movement to say things like: 'Jesus is right there laughing with you!' 'God has a sense of humor!' etc. And while I have no solid proof, I believe Jesus had His share of laughter during His 33 years on earth.  

But we need to look what the scriptures tell us about laughter to get insight into God's perspective on it. It is only when we confine our answers to the safe, reliable boundaries of the Bible that we close the door to speculation.  

While there are positive verses concerning laughter, a shocking number show it in a very different light. Charismatics are correct when they say God laughs. But I think they would be surprised by the subject of His laughter.

He laughs at the heathen:
"He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them [the heathen (2:1)] in derision." Psalm 2:4
"But thou, O Lord, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision." Psalm 59:8 

He laughs at the wicked:
"The Lord shall laugh at him [the wicked (37:12)]: for he seeth that his day is coming." Psalm 37:13

To those who reject God's council:
"I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;" Proverbs 1:26

Elsewhere in the scriptures we are told:
"The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him:" Psalm 52:6 speaking about those who love evil more than good and do not make God their strength.

"Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." James 4:8-10 

The wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, had this to say:
"Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth." Ecclesiastes 7:3-4 

Jesus also touched on the subject:
"Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh….Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep." Luke 6:21&25 

There are two sides to the story—laughter is not always good. 

Genesis 18:13-15 recounts the event of Sarah laughing at the idea of bearing a child at her age.
"And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh."

It is interesting to note that Sarah denied laughing because she was afraid. Her conscience (finally) kicked into gear and told her it was wrong to have laughed at something God had said.  

Did you know that God condemns jesting? First, let's look at the definition of the word. 

Jesting:
- Something said or done to provoke laughter.
- Amusing remarks; To joke, quip, wisecrack; a play a gag. 

Now let's look at what the Bible says about it.

"But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks." Ephesians 5:3-4

The context begins with fornication and ends with jesting. So in light of what scripture says, kidding around isn't so great after all, is it?!

Here are some strong words that should soberly be considered:
"For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Hebrews 10:26-31 

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments" Psalm 111:10 

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."
Proverbs 1:7 

Here's what Solomon says all of life boils down to:
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." Ecclesiastes 12:13


Here are more sober words from the Lord: "the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed." 1 Samuel 2:30b

 
Do we really fear God? Don't answer too quickly. Take a moment and think about it. The answer: not really. We have become way too comfortable in our relationship with the Lord. One cannot draw near to fire without getting burned. God's judgment is described as fire throughout the scriptures. 

"For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God." Deuteronomy 4:24 
"For our God is a consuming fire." Hebrews 12:29 

"But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness." Malachi 3:2-3 

"Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 

Hebrews 12:18-21 gives an account of Moses and the Israelites encamped about Mount Sinai. The Israelites died in the wilderness because of their unbelief. They represent unbelievers who, when they taste God's holiness and judgment, retreat in fear. Moses, on the other hand, represents believers. Yet even Moses—the man who saw the back of God's glory pass before him—said "I exceedingly fear and quake."
"For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)" 

In Old Testament times, those who violated God's commands were stoned. Disobedience equalled death. Quite an incentive to hearken and obey! It produced the fear of the Lord in the hearts of the people. And it is severely lacking in the church today.  

"Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death" Joshua 1:18 

"Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. … And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me. And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it. … And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day." Joshua 7:11-12, 19-21, 25-26 

Think such things are only confined to the Old Testament? What about this passage from Acts 5:1-11:
"But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things."

Again, it produced the fear of the Lord in the hearts of the people.

Just the fact that no man can look at God and live should tell you how holy God is.
"And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live." Exodus 33:20 

God deserves total reverence and respect in all things and in all areas of our lives. If we can't do that then, quite frankly, we don't deserve to be called His children.  

Today's church has taken verses like the following, and pushed the envelope too far. 

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." John 15:13-14 

"A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24 

Yes, Jesus is my best friend. He is that friend that sticks closer than a brother that Proverbs talks about. But there is a vast difference between a dear friend and a 'buddy' as charismatics tend to portray their relationship with the Lord.  

Jesus and the term 'home boy' should never be used in the same sentence. Jesus is God Almighty. The one who came to earth as a man. Lived a sinless life and bore the sins of many on a crude cross. Crucified by His creation. Dying for mankind—that spit on Him and hurled abuse upon Him. Rising again, defeating death and the grave and offering salvation to anyone who would repent from their sins and turn to Him.  

He deserves respect, people. Not a 'high five'.  

Would you walk up to the Queen and say, "Hey there, Queenie! Here's a high five!" Of course not. So if you wouldn’t disrespect a mere mortal like that, why on earth would you think it's ok to say that to the King of kings and the Lord of lords?! He's the Creator of the universe—from the vast galaxies of the heavens to the minute details of the eyelashes on a tiny hummingbird.

Yet you think it's ok (and even funny) to "give the Lord a high five"?

Take a quick look at the world's religions. A Muslim wouldn't tolerate talk like this about Allah or Mohammed for one moment. They'd start WWIII over the mere mention of such blasphemy. Catholics respect Mary and the Pope more than some Christians respect Jesus. All the world religions are full of devout followers that are strictly devoted to their gods and religious practices. Why aren't Christians? It's mind-boggling! 

There is a story that seems to fit well with this topic.

A young boy was playing in the dusty streets of an old West town when a rogue stage coach came racing uncontrollably through town. A quick thinking man standing nearby snatched the boy from the path of the stage coach mere moments before he would have been trampled to death. Years later, when the boy was in his late teens he found himself in hot water with the law. Entering the courtroom he looked up to see the man who had saved him from the stage coach was the judge presiding his case. The young man smiled thinking he had it made since the judge would undoubtedly be on his side. After all, he had a personal connection with the judge. He saved him once, and now he can do it again. As the young man pleaded his case, he brought the judge to remembrance of the incident all those years before. But the judge's response shocked the young man. "Years ago I was your saviour. But today I am your judge." And sentenced the young man proper punishment for his crime.

Jesus is our Saviour. But when we stand before the judgement seat of Christ, He will be our Judge. Don't confuse the two roles.  

Three more word definitions are worth looking at: 

Flippant:
- Lacking due respect or seriousness; Impertinent.
- Careless disrespect; an impertinent act or remark 

Impertinent:
- Deliberately disrespectful or unmannerly; Impudent.
- Not suitable, inappropriate, incongruous.
- Unwarranted boldness; rudeness; insolence. 

Impudent:
- Saucy; brazen; shameless; offensive boldness;
- Openly insulting.  

Mr. Hawkins' comedy bit on hand raising is nothing but a flippant mockery of something God calls holy. It is dishonorable and impudent. And that is blasphemy in God's eyes.  

Some argue that it is just done in fun—not meant in a negative way. 'The motive is to make people laugh, not to disrespect God.'  

Well, my friend, that doesn't change the fact that it is irreverent, impertinent, and satirical. Good intentions don't get you to heaven. And if that's the only excuse you can come up with to condone this kind of humor, then I sincerely pray that God would open your eyes to the truth and lead you into His holiness.  

We are called to be holy, a peculiar people, and set apart from the world.
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;" 1 Peter 2:9 

I would think that if a non-believer walked into Mr. Hawkins' service they would not see much difference between the two.

Churches today have become seeker friendly to coax people in (and keep them coming.) A number of years ago, a non-Christian relative of mine came to a church I once attended. He later told me the 'youth studio' looked no different than some of the bars and clubs he'd been to. Instead of drawing him in (as was the intent,) it was a complete turn-off to him that a church would do such a thing. That says a lot. Churches need to wake up and return to sound doctrine and practices instead of imitating the world to draw people to Christ. Churches today count the crowds and seek to draw in more people by watering down the truth so they don’t offend anyone or drive them away.  

Down through the years, it has been my experience that when people step on my toes, it's only when my toes are in the wrong place. If my toes were where they should have been, I wouldn't have been stepped on and offended in the first place.  

Jesus was not seeker friendly. He called the religious folk of His day all manner of names: "hypocrites…brood of vipers…blind guides…whited sepulchres full of dead men's bones…" He said this not to condemn them, but to wake them up to their hypocritical ways and to show them the truth.
He didn't say, "I love you, but you're annoying." And if He wouldn't, then we shouldn't either.
 
 
Many people were—and still are—offended by Jesus. But He said:
"And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me." Matthew 11:6 & Luke 7:23 

It is only by facing the truth that we will grow in Christ. This doesn't mean it won't hurt. It's hard to face facts about oneself. But it is only when we face them and conquer them that we can move forward in the right direction.  

Proverbs 14:12 says: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but he end thereof are the ways of death." What may seem completely harmless and innocent could be viewed completely different through God's eyes. People in general have a tainted view of lies. Society has conditioned us to think there are different classes of lying--white fibs vs big whoppers. God's view is totally different. In several separate occasions He has stated that all liars will not enter heaven but will have their part in hell. (Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:15; Prov 6:16-19; Prov 19:9; et al)

It is interesting to note the verse that follows the well known Proverbs 14:12. Verse 13 says: "Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness." Apparently our laughter can lead to 'heaviness.' Could it be because we laughed at something God finds inappropriate? Could it be that we will then face God's judgment over what we once found funny?

This is no longer a laughing matter. It's serious, folks.

You may mistake me for some 'old fuddy-duddy' who's not with the progression of the times. I'm not that old (32) nor am I oblivious or opposed to progression. What I am opposed to is deviation from God's ways according to His word. I'm not saying I have it all right. I don't. I'm on the journey my Lord has me and any insights or words of wisdom are not my own--they are given by Him.

Scriptures tell us to die to self, crucify the flesh, and to take up our cross:
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20 

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it." Mark 8:35 

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Romans 12:1 

"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." Luke 9:23 

Paul said "I die daily." 1 Corinthians 15:31b 

This is the Christian life. We are to bear fruit. Unless a tree is pruned, it will not bear the fruit it should. The quicker we learn to be submissive to God's pruning, the easier it will be on us. 

In conclusion, I think it fitting to end with this quote from C.H. Spurgeon: "A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats."

"Choose you this day whom ye will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15
It is a daily choice—not a one-time prayer. Holiness is simply one step…at a time. Every day, each decision we face gives us the opportunity to choose Christ or self. …to laugh, or not to laugh…

Jesus as our Saviour—that is a one-time commitment.
Jesus as our Lord—that's a daily commitment.
Moment by moment, we must choose Christ in every decision we face—from the mighty down to the minute.

I pray that you will ponder what your have read here, and that God will work in your hearts and minds to show you the truth in all things.  

May our prayer ever be:
"…cause me to know the way wherein I should walk…" Psalm 143:8