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Luke 18:8  "...Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith
on the earth?"

The Bible warns us over and over again that in the Last Days, there would be a
departure from the Faith; apostasy-- departure from the Truth. As well meaning
as some Christians may be and even though they are sincere, one can be
sincerely wrong. The Bible states that Faith comes by HEARING the Word of
God. Modern Christianity wants to excite the senses-- to make the Bible come
alive through sight... BUT the Bible proclaims that we walk by faith and not by
sight.
True faith sees without natural eyes. There is the glory that belongs
to the Lord God alone and cannot be seen with mortal eye today.
We see
Him through spiritual eyes but someday face to face. Jesus Christ is God--
The
Second Person of the Trinity;
and He declared that one must worship God "in
spirit and truth."
For any human to depict the Lord Jesus Christ in a movie or a
"passion play" is an insult to the glorified Risen Savior. Such "adds to" the Bible
and "deletes from" it. For such productions
rob Christ of His glory, His Deity;
and also
transgresses the Second Commandment, as we shall explain.

Webster's Dictionary defines "blasphemy"  as the following:
"Blasphemy is an injury offered to God, by denying that which is due and
belonging to him
, or attributing to him that which is not agreeable to his
nature."

According to an article by OneNewsNow.com, TBN recently acquired the
Christian theme park called the "Holy Land Experience" in Orlando Florida.
The "experience" boasts models of the Temple, Tabernacle, Garden Tomb, etc.
But the theme park also goes
a step further, to the astonishment of Bereans
everywhere, featuring a "jesus"-- a human actor with long hair and beard,
pretending to be Christ in a graphic passion play. According to the article, the
Anglo-Saxon "jesus" is
crucified six days a week before the eyes of adults
and children alike. Visitors get the chance to see "jesus" die before their
eyes in graphic portrayal.
And just as Mickey Mouse is the star of Disney
World, so a real live "jesus" is the star for the Holy Land Experience, along with
other Bible "characters." Children get a chance to see these "bible characters"--
just as they see at other theme parks characters such as Santa, the Easter
Bunny, Mickey Mouse, and Snow White. And there are opportunities to snap
photos of "jesus" during the passion play. Consider the following:

"There are photo ops built in," explains Reynolds, who helps script the
continually changing performances. "When he shows a child the camel and
weaves through the crowd with the dove, those are strategically planned for
people to take photos of him."
source

Photo ops?  Yet JESUS CHRIST-- THE REAL SAVIOR-- THE CREATOR
OF THE UNIVERSE IS SEATED IN HEAVEN, IN HIS GLORY -- AT THE
RIGHT HAND OF THE HEAVENLY FATHER! Children should be taught
this-- not brought into confusion from over-zealous parents, ignorantly wanting
their children to "see" what they are meant ONLY to HEAR. (Romans 10:17)
As stated before, the Bible declares that faith comes by HEARING.

Concerning religious dramas, A.W. Tozer wrote:
It violates the scriptural law of hearing...the Bible rules out pictures and
dramatics as media for
bringing faith and life to the human soul.

CHRIST - THE IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD

Colossians 1:14-15 In whom [Christ] we have redemption through his blood,
even the forgiveness of sins:
Who is the image of the invisible God, the
firstborn of every creature...
verse 19:  For it pleased the Father that in him
should all fulness dwell
..

The Lord Jesus declared in John 14:9, "...he that hath seen me hath seen the
Father."

Yet Christians insist on seeing mere man playing the role of God! Yet the Lord
Jesus said in John 20:29,
"Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have
believed."

We do not doubt the sincerety of the actors involved but what a true sacrilege if
there ever was one-- an actor-- a mere man-- playing the role that he is the Only
Begotten Son of God! And what more blasphemy is there to depict the darkest
hours of human history-- crucifying the Son of God afresh almost every single
day of the week? The Lord Jesus died ONCE for our sins-- never to be repeated.

The Book of Colossians declares that Christ is
"the image of the invisible God"
but yet when one visits the homepage of the Holy Land Experience website, the
first thing one sees is a picture of the actor ("jesus") with a little girl and the
captions says:
"Look into the eyes of the One who changed the course of
history..."

How dare they place a man's picture with the caption, "Look into the eyes of the
One..." We cannot look into the eyes of the ONE -- until we reach the Heavens
where He is seated on high. We, Christians, see now with SPIRITUAL eyes--
by faith. Mere man can never portray the ONE who changed the course of
history and he should never try! It is a violation of the Second Commandment!
Isaiah 42:8 declares:  
"I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not
give to another..."


THE SECOND COMMANDMENT

Exodus 20:2-5 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the
land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods
before me. 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: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve
them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the
fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate
me.

Any likeness! It's there in the Word of God and since the Lord Jesus is in
Heaven, we are to cease from using mere man to depict the very Son Of God!
The Second Commandment prohibits making material representations of His
Person.

The Christ, who came down and lived among His own for thirty-three years is
the SAME One who dwelt of old with Israel-- in the Tabernacle. He is the Same
One, whose glory was seen in the midst of Israel and whose glory filled the
Temple. Consider the following verses which explain the glory of God, the
frailty of man, and the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ-- who has in Him the
fulness of the Godhead bodily:

Exodus 15:11  
Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like
thee,
glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

1Peter 1:24-25 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower
of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
But the
word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is
preached unto you.

Exodus 24:17  And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring
fire
on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.

John 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld
his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and
truth.

Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of
his person
, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by
himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

And let us again quote Colossians 1:14-15: In whom [Christ] we have
redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Who is the
image of the invisible God
, the firstborn of every creature... verse19:
For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell...

Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

Please let this sink in. Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God...In Him
dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Yet people professing to know Him
are using mere man to depict the VERY image of God! It is blasphemy. For
those of you who yet do not see, please pray that the Lord would open your
eyes. It is the "norm" today for Christians to play the role of Jesus in film and
stage but yet it was considered blasphemy to do so just 100 years ago!
Christians have been conditioned over the years to accept things that would be a
sacrilege a century ago. Christendom has become irreverent concerning the Lord
of Glory. THERE IS NO RESPECT.

Today, there are "jesus" action figures, "jesus" machine-washable ragdolls, and
"jesus" cartoons. Children
are conditioned to walk by sight rather than by
faith and are conditioned to accept man's invention of what they believe Christ
to look like. It is idolatry. Yet the things of God are spiritually discerned and we
are to look unto Him
by faith.

Ephesians 3:17a That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith...

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From the article:
http://www.onenewsnow.com/2007/08/christian_theme_park_gains_pop.php

Christian theme park gains popularity

ORLANDO, Fla. - Jesus Christ is crucified and resurrected here six days a
week. Snarling Roman soldiers whip and drag him, and somber audience
members watch. Some quietly weep at a pageant bloody and cruel. It is the
grand finale at the Holy Land Experience, and not the attraction most tourists
envision in an Orlando vacation...
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A VACATION??

"What happened in those three mysterious hours, when the Cross and the Lord
of Life were enshrouded in darkness, when He tasted death, deeper death than
physical death, when His soul
was made an offering for sin, can NEVER be
discovered. "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"
~ AC Gaebelein

Almost two thousand years ago, the crucifixion of our Lord was so terrible that
the sky grew black as night-- The Holy Son of God hung between Heaven and
earth, receiving the fullest punishment for our sins.
God veiled the horrific
crucifixion with DARKNESS.  How dare mere humans try to recreate it in
the light of day! And charge money to see it!
Have they no fear of God? Do
they not know it is blasphemy to depict God in the likeness of SINFUL flesh?
We have all sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God!
The Lord Jesus
NEVER sinned. He walked in human flesh but never sinned.
None of us
alive have ever seen what a
sinless man looks like.  The Second
Commandment clearly forbids graven images, likenesses of God. And Jesus, the
Christ, is God! He has no equal and no mere human could ever do Him justice.
Nothing grieves the Holy Spirit more than dishonor done to the Lord Jesus
Christ.

If the Lord Jesus wanted His image plastered all over, He would have drawn
a self-portrait of Himself and had it etched in stone on some mountain. If He
wanted mere man to portray Him in dramas, He would have given the
commandment to do so. No, God is to be worshipped in spirit and in truth!
He gave us the Second Commandment. He gave us His Word. The Bible is the
WORD of God. No pictures are needed; no "passion plays" are needed. Reading
the Bible builds faith. Hebrews 4:12 says,  
"For the word of God is quick, and
powerful
, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the
dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a
discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

The crucifixion of Christ was the blackest day of human history-- Christ died
ONCE for the sins of mankind, never to be repeated and He is glorified today!

Luke 24:26  
Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into
his glory?

What would the Saints of centuries past have to say to
TBN and their Holy Land Experience?

Thomas Watson from the 17th Century wrote:
The Ten Commandments: "Nor the likeness of any thing" means, "All ideas,
portraits, shapes, images of God, whether by effigies or pictures, is hereby
forbidden to be made."
God is to be adored in the heart, not painted to the
eye.
To set up an image to represent God is to debase him. Idolatry is devil
worship...If it be not lawful to make the image of God the Father, yet may we
not make an image of Christ, who took upon him the nature of man?
No! It
is Christ's Godhead, united to his manhood, that makes him to be Christ;
therefore to picture his manhood, when we cannot picture his Godhead, is a
sin, because we make him to be but half Christ - we separate what God has
joined, we leave out that which is the chief thing which makes him to be
Christ.

Matthew Henry wrote:
"Our religious worship must be governed by the power of faith, not by the
power of imagination. Idolatry is spiritual adultery."

John Gill:
"No image of God was to be made at all, since no similitude was ever seen of
Him, or any likeness could be conceived..."

Charles Hodge:
"Idolatry consists not only in the worship of false gods, but also in the worship
of the true God by images."

A.C. Gaebelein in 1914 wrote concerning the passion play:
"Again we say what a blasphemy it is to depict in such a way the suffering of
the holy Son of God!
That no protest is heard against this Romish playhouse
and some of those who should protest, known by the name (and in name only)
of Protestants, laud the wicked travesty to the sky.
No heart which loves and
adores the Lord Jesus Christ can have any sympathy whatever with this
passion play.
"
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bonner Sancroft, concerning the Passion play said in 1870:
[To] "excite the feelings without informing the understanding, and therefore
without supplying any material motives to the conscience; A dangerous thing
to quicken the feelings without informing the mind, or conferring any
safeguards upon the character.
Steady old preaching will do the work best."

And why did he say that? Because the Bible commands us to "TELL" of the
Lord; to preach His Word. Nowhere are we commanded to dramatize the Bible
for to produce or "enhance faith." FAITH COMES BY HEARING. We are to
SPEAK, TALK, TELL, PREACH, PROCLAIM...

Psalm 145:10-13   
All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall
bless thee. They
shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy
power;
To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious
majesty of his kingdom. Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy
dominion endureth throughout all generations.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reverend Wilbur Fiske Crafts in 1885 wrote:
As the pulpit and press of New York prevented the proposed sacrilege of
reproducing the Passion Play in a theatre...

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A bit of history, how Protestant ministers in the past reacted toward the
"passion play"...

"Religious leaders frequently enlisted government authorities and newspaper
editors in high-profile crusades against various forms of entertainment that
today are considered benign. The theater was one frequent target. In 1879 an
eccentric Jewish entrepreneur named Salmi Morse attempted to stage in San
Francisco a theatrical version of Christ's passion.
Insisting it was sinful and
sacrilegious to put the life of Christ on the stage, outraged ministers besieged
the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
, which banned the play. Morse went
to court, but lost when a local judge ruled that his Passion play offended
Christianity, which government had a right--indeed, a duty--to protect: "The
Board of Supervisors," wrote Judge Morrison, "has seen fit to
prohibit the
exhibition in question because such an exhibition is, in their opinion,
against good morals, because it is calculated to bring religion, which is
the foundation of all morality, into ridicule and contempt,
and because the
sacred mysteries of the passion and death of the Redeemer upon the cross
are too solemn and sacred to be made the subject of a theatrical exhibition."

Morse had equally dismal luck in the supposedly cosmopolitan New York City.
Egged on by a crusading newspaper editor named Harrison Grey Fiske, the
city's Board of Aldermen drafted
legislation banning the play. Three years
later, when Morse was finally able to stage the Passion play briefly in New
York, a state senator quickly prepared legislation to prevent
"any attempt to
personate or represent Jesus Christ, the Savior of Mankind, in any exhibition
show, play, dramatic or theatrical performance."
Morse was effectively put  
out of business. Source:
http://www.libertymagazine.org/article/articleview/143/1/43/

The role of "Jesus" in Morse's play was played by James O'Neill, in the year
1879, which caused local authorities to
arrest him under ordinances
forbidding
impersonation of the Deity. It drew nationwide attention.

A.W. Tozer wrote:

"I believe that most responsible religious teachers will agree that any effort to
teach spiritual truth through entertainment is at best futile and at worst
positively injurious to the soul
...In order to produce a religious movie some-
one must, for the time, disguise his individuality and simulate that of another.
His actions must be judged fraudulent, and those who watch them with
approval share in the fraud. To pretend to pray, to simulate godly sorrow, to
play at worship before the camera for effect--how utterly shocking to the
reverent heart! How can Christians who approve this gross pretense ever
understand the value of sincerity as taught by our Lord?
What will be the end
of a generation of Christians fed on such a diet of deception disguised as the
faith of our fathers?"
http://www.av1611.org/Passion/menace.html

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To view the sacrilege of God's holy prophet, Moses, depicted with the Law in
his hands and smiles for the camera:

http://bp3.blogger.com/_L2ntjWYZMw0/ReD1KwUqyCI/AAAAAAAAAAs/n8YRqeqlaSg/s1600-h/Moses.jpg

The Bible tells us that Moses had to veil his face because of the glory that
shown so bright, after meeting with the LORD.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Consider an excerpt from the following press article (bold emphasis is ours):

What would Jesus view?
A dramatic Passion Play. A collection of ancient Bibles. A model of ancient
Jerusalem. Camels and sheep. Movies and musicals.

By Paul Lomartire
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 17, 2004
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/accent/content/accent/local/holy_land.html

Jesus does not sign autographs.

And unlike Mickey at the Magic Kingdom, the Messiah will not pose for
photos.

Although visitors are encouraged to stop any costumed Disciple, Roman
soldier or Israelite to ask questions about life from 1450 B.C. to A.D. 66,
Jesus is off-limits for such chats.

At The Holy Land Experience, close to Universal Studios in Orlando, the
star doesn't have to pander and pose to sell tickets.

The King of Kings need only show up to minister in the morning and be
crucified in the afternoon.

"We're not a theme park," says Iris Reynolds, who trains Holy Land
performers, including the actor who portrays Christ. "We're a living
biblical museum where you see people from the past."

But it is a park with a definite theme: Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

For the daily 20-minute Via Dolorosa — or Way of Sorrow — Passion
Drama, Roman soldiers appear to kick and spit on the bloodied and bruised
Messiah as they drag him along a curving walkway lined with tourists ready
with cameras (
some licking milk-and-honey ice cream cones from a nearby
stand)
...

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When doing research for this article, we found an interesting quote on a
message board concerning the theme park:

"To me at least: it was beyond unnerving: it was creepy. The 'Disney-fication'
of Christ's message has been going on for a few decades, slowly draining it
of both Power and Passion...The 'Gospel of Jiminy Cricket' is a Far Cry from
the life-transforming power of Passover and Pentecost..."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Former Catholic Priest, Richard Bennett wrote:
"...in the New Testament, we see that no “similitude� of Christ Jesus
was given, and the commandment must remain unabridged. Any similitude or
image of Father, Son or Holy Spirit
is sinful and insulting to the majesty of
the Lord God.
" Source
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Isaiah 40:18  To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye
compare unto him?

All "jesus" pictures, images, human actors, etc. are not true representations of
the Holy Son of God. Such are man-made inventions.


CONCLUSION


"Passion plays" do not belong to people of biblical faith. Our Lord was
humiliated ONCE and
it was for our sins that He died. We are to remember
His death and resurrection but we are NOT to add to Scripture with human
ideas; nor are we to rob Christ of His glory-- His Deity.

God's Word must be read and through His Word, He speaks to our hearts. The
Holy Spirit will put in our minds what HE wants us to see. Our Lord Jesus is
risen and seated at the right hand of the Heavenly Father. He is not hanging
upon a cross! We serve a living Savior-- in Heaven! Glorified! And Christians
MUST walk by faith and not by sight.

Romans 10:6-9  
But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise,
Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (
that is, to bring Christ
down from above:
) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up
Christ again from the dead.
) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even
in thy
mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt
believe in
thine heart
that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.


©2007 Cobblestone Road Ministries
All Rights Reserved

Further Reading:
What Is Wrong With The Passion Movie?
Jesus Films For All Faiths? Trendy "jesus" films
Unbiblical Things - Female Angels, Little Cherubs and "Jesus" Pictures
Jesus Christ - The Great "I AM"
Psalm 40 - The Death and Resurrection Of The Messiah

The Christ Of The Cross - By A.C. Gaebelein
Idolatry in the Evangelical Camp - By Bereanbeacon.org
Beware of the Passion Play
At The "Holy Land Experience" Christian Theme Park in Orlando, Florida
Click Here To Read About The Messiah in Psalm 40
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