Sermon title: SATAN USES UFO’S TO CHALLENGE OUR FAITH
2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Immanuel Baptist Church – Sunday, June 13, 2021
Are there flying saucers in the Bible?
Some people believe there are.
And they point to the First Chapter of Ezekiel.
Ezekiel starts out by saying,
1 In my thirtieth year,
in the 4th month on the fifth day,
while I was among the exiles
by the Kebar River,
the heavens were opened
and I saw visions of God.
And then Ezekiel goes on to describe
some strange-looking winged creatures in the vision,
each one next to an unusual wheel.
In Verse 15 he says,
15 As I looked at the living creatures,
I saw a wheel on the ground
beside each creature.
And then he describes these special wheels.
16 This was the appearance & structure
of the wheels:
They sparkled like topaz,
and all four looked alike.
Each appeared to be made like
a wheel intersecting a wheel.
17 As they moved, they would go
in any one of the four directions
the creatures faced;
the wheels did not change direction
as the creatures went.
18 Their rims were high and awesome,
and all four rims were full of eyes
19 When the living creatures moved,
the wheels beside them moved;
and when the living creatures
rose from the ground,
the wheels also rose.
Ezekiel goes on to describe
how the wheels were supporting a structure
that was like a heavenly chariot,
a movable throne of God.
The chapter concludes with Ezekiel saying,
Such was the appearance
of the likeness of the glory
of the LORD.
So, this was a vision of God on his throne—
a movable throne with amazing wheels.
But some false teachers today claim
that the wheels Ezekiel saw were flying saucers.
Louis Farrakhan, of the Nation of Islam
reportedly quotes one of the group’s early leaders
as saying Ezekiel saw a mother ship.
According to the Wikipedia, Farrakhan said,
“The Honorable Elijah Muhammad told us of
a giant Motherplane that is made like the universe,
spheres within spheres.
White people call them unidentified flying objects
Ezekiel, in the Old Testament, saw a wheel.”
And then he added, and I quote,
“It is a circular plane, and the Bible says
that it never makes turns.
Because of its circular nature
it can stop and travel in all directions
at speeds of thousands of miles per hour.”
The Nation of Islam sect teaches
that a black Allah will come to earth
aboard this mother ship
and will wipe out the white race—
the supposed cause of the world’s troubles.
After this visitor from the flying saucer
destroys all the white people,
the world will then enjoy peace and prosperity.
This is just one example of how false religious teachers
distort the meaning of Bible passages
to fit their theories about U.F.O.’s.
And it shows how they pin their hopes for salvation
on visitors from outer space,
instead of on Christ, crucified,
risen & coming again.
The news media in recent weeks
have been full of speculation about U.F.O.’s—
Unidentified Flying Objects—
because a government report on them
is due to be released this month.
Six months ago the Congress and President Trump
agreed to set a 180-day deadline
for the intelligence agencies to release
whatever information they have on this.
Flying saucer enthusiasts were hoping the report
would expose the secrets of “Area 51”—
a highly-classified Air Force testing area
in the Nevada desert.
There have been whisperings for years
about flying saucers crashing there,
the government finding remains of space aliens,
and even filming an autopsy
performed on one of the little green men.
But officials who leaked some of the report’s contents
in advance to the New York Times
appeared to burst the bubble,
by stating no evidence of aliens was found.
But they added that the report still leaves
many reported sightings unexplained.
And then the mystery was re-invigorated
when it came out that the report would have
a classified annex, not to be made public.
Some assume that refers to secret projects of
the Defense Department,
or secrets our intelligence agencies have learned
about Russian or Chinese technology.
But others speculate that there really have been visits
from aliens from outer space—
maybe even a spacecraft that crashed in Area 51,
with alien autopsies, and all—
and that that information is hidden
in the classified top-secret annex.
So, nothing that’s been leaked from the report
has done anything to dampen the enthusiasm
of those who believe aliens from outer space
will soon reveal themselves to us.
An Associated Press story from a week ago concluded,
and I quote,
“Whatever or whoever they are,
they’re still out there.
U.S. intelligence is after them,
but its upcoming report won't deliver any
full or final truth about UFOs.”
Practically speaking, though, the immediate result
of all the media discussing flying saucers,
has just added to the speculation
that alien life may be about to reveal itself.
Add to this, the fact that Israeli newspapers
have been quoting
the Former Head of Israel’s Space Program,
with headlines like,
“The Aliens Asked Not To Be Revealed,
Humanity Not Yet Ready”
Brigadier General Haim Eshed served from 1981 to 2010
as the head of Israel’s security space program.
He commanded the launching of 20 Israeli satellites.
And, in an interview he said,and I quote,
"The UFOs have asked
not to publish that they are here,
humanity is not ready yet.
Trump was on the verge of revealing,
but the aliens in the Galactic Federation are saying:
Wait, let people calm down first.
They don’t want to start mass hysteria.
They want to first make us sane and understanding.
And this retired Israeli general went on to say,
“There’s an agreement
between the US government and the aliens.
They signed a contract with us to do experiments here.
... There’s an underground base in the depths of Mars,
where their representatives are,
and also our American astronauts.”
Most people would say this is crazy and over-the-top,
but General Eshed defended himself
against such charges by saying,
“If I had come up with what I’m saying today
five years ago,
I would have been hospitalized.
Wherever I’ve gone with this in academia,
they’ve said: the man has lost his mind.
Today they’re already talking differently.
I have nothing to lose. I’ve received my degrees and awards,
I am respected in universities abroad,
where the trend is also changing."
But, it should be noted that General Eshed
may stand to gain financially
by making such wild claims.
He gave that interview as part of the sales promotion
for a new book he’s written.
And the claims he made in the interview
could lead more people to buy his book—
“follow the money,” they say.
But, why are we talking about this in church?
What does this have to do with our faith?
The answer is found in a different interview
given a couple of weeks ago
by former President Barack Obama.
The interviewer alluded to the upcoming release
of the intelligence agencies’ report on UFO’s,
and asked Obama how the existence of aliens
would impact his politics.
"It wouldn't change my politics at all.
Because my entire politics is premised on the fact
that we are these tiny organisms
on this little speck floating in the middle of space."
And then Obama added that, were aliens to be proven real,
“New religions would pop up.”
And that’s why we’re talking about it here in church.
The “little green men” have NOT been proven real.
But the speculation alone, the unsolved mysteries,
and the thought that there might be
aliens from outer space
has already affected people’s religious beliefs.
The Apostle Peter wrote in his 1st letter that we should be
“prepared to make a defense
to anyone who asks you for a reason
for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15)
So, we should be prepared
for people to throw up challenges to our faith
using reports of alien life forms
to undermine the Bible.
The fact is, though, that such challenges are not new.
You might think that speculation about space aliens
began with science fiction stories
about Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon
within the past hundred years.
But, stories of visitors from outer space
have been distorting people’s religious views
long before that.
Back in the 1830’s
the Mormon Church emerged in the United States,
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
Joseph Smith, Jr. and his successor Brigham Young
claimed to be prophets with new revelations.
And they taught all sorts of doctrines contrary to the Bible,
even producing their own Book of Mormon,
presented as another Gospel
with higher authority than the Bible.
One of Brigham Young’s new teachings was
that Adam and Eve came to earth from another planet.
That’s right—he taught that Adam was not made
from the dust of the ground, here on earth,
but rather traveled here from outer space.
He claimed, further, that Adam and Eve brought with them
the plants and animals that we see on earth,
from their supposed original home planet.
So, our first parents were actually space aliens,
according to the Mormon prophet.
And those space aliens populated the earth
with their offspring.
But Brigham Young was not the first Mormon
to speak of life on other planets.
Mormonism’s founder Joseph Smith, Jr.,
produced not only the Book of Mormon,
but also the so-called Book of Abraham.
And it alludes to God’s throne being located
at a star or planet named “Kolob”—
a celestial body unknown to science.
Mormons speak of “Kolob” sometimes as a star,
but also as a planet—a planet that rotates
so slowly that one day on Kolob
is equal to 1000 years on Earth.
If you Google “Kolob,” you’ll find music videos
sung by young Mormon men and women
about going to this imaginary planet.
The Mormons also named several places in Utah after it:
Kolob Canyon in Zion National Park,
Kolob Arch Hiking Trail,
Kolob Reservoir, and so on—
all serving as reminders of this non-biblical belief.
Anyone familiar with the science-fiction TV series
Battlestar Galactica may be wondering
if it’s a coincidence that the show features
a fictional planet “Kobol”—
just like Kolob with the “L” and “B” reversed—
as the planet where life began,
the mother world of the human race.
Well, the similarity to Mormon teaching
is not a coincidence,
because the creator and producer
of the Battlestar Galactica was a Mormon,
and simply adapted his church’s teachings.
The Mormons are not alone among the cults
in focusing on other worlds in outer space.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Watchtower publications
taught for decades that God’s heavenly home
was on the star Alcyone in the Pleiades constellation.
And Watchtower followers expected God
to rapture them away to that star cluster.
In 1997 dozens of Americans committed mass suicide
as the Hale-Bopp comet approached,
because their Heavens Gate religion taught them
their souls would be beamed aboard
a spacecraft trailing that comet.
The online encyclopedia Wikipedia lists Heavens Gate
among 9 prominent “UFO Religions”
where belief in extraterrestrials and UFOs
form a key element of their doctrine.
And the Wikipedia lists half a dozen other religions
that notably feature space aliens in their beliefs—
including the Mormons.
But it’s worth noting that all of these are cultic groups
and that, when they do refer to the Bible,
they twist the Scripture contrary to its plain meaning.
So, when former-President Obama says that
further revelations about extraterrestrial aliens
would give rise to “new religions,”
it would be more of the same—
For example, the Raëlian Church is considered to be
the largest UFO religion,
with tens of thousands of members.
And they claim to have already had contact
with spaceships sent by aliens.
The founder of the Raëlian Church claims he was
visited in the 1970’s by a small space alien
with pale green skin and almond-shaped eyes,
who spent six days with him,
paging through the Bible and
explaining what Scripture really means.
The church teaches that the spacemen later took him
to their home planet in another solar system.
They claim that the aliens are called “Elohim”—
the Hebrew word for God—
and that an alien scientist named “Yahweh”
created the first humans and named them
Adam and Eve.
So, this gives some idea of the sort of “new religions”
that Barack Obama expects will result
from new revelations about space aliens.
But these “new religions” are always false religions.
For example, some claim
that the Old Testament’s Ark of the Covenant
was actually a radio
given to Moses by aliens from outer space
so they could speak to Moses.
That would mean Moses heard from space aliens
rather than from Almighty God.
But those who make these claims ignore the fact
that God spoke to Mosesmany times before
the Ark of the Covenant was built.
And, yes, Ark of the Covenant was not given to Moses,
as they claim.
Rather, the Bible says it was built by a man.
And its design was very simple—
with none of the electronics needed for a radio.
Exodus 37 records the details of how it was built
by an Israeli craftsman named Bezalel. It says,
1 Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood,
45 inches long, 27 inches wide,
and 27 inches high.
2 He overlaid it with pure gold
inside and out and made
a gold molding all around it.
He put 2 carved angels called cherubs on top of the cover,
but nothing inside it.
It was an empty box.
After it was built, the only things placed inside it were
--the walking stick belonging to Moses’ brother Aaron
--a pot of manna,
--and the stone tablets with the 10 Commandments.
Hebrews 9 describes it as
the ark of the covenant
overlaid on all sides with gold,
in which was a golden pot
holding the manna,
Aaron’s rod that budded,
and the tablets of the covenant;
5 and above it cherubim...
So, there’s no way that box could have been
a radio given to Moses by space aliens.
Yes, whenever the UFO enthusiasts
try to use the Bible to support their beliefs,
they resort to taking passages out of context
and ignoring the historical facts.
But their biggest problem is that
they look for salvation from a source other than
Christ, crucified, risen and coming again.
The UFO teachings are just one more lie of the devil,
raised up against the truth of the Gospel.
The Apostle Peter says we should be
“prepared to make a defense
to anyone who asks you for a reason
for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15)
and that’s why we’re
talking about flying saucers here in church.
The devil’s time is short,
and he’s pulling out all stops
to deceive as many people as he can,
to take them down with him.
Our Lord Jesus said at Luke 21:25 that in the last days
“There will be signs
in sun and moon and stars,”
and some of those signs could be put there by the devil,
to mislead people.
Will the governments and the news media
make even more false claims
about UFO sightings and contact with aliens?
We don’t know.
But we do know 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2 says,
9 The coming of the lawless one
will be accompanied by
the working of Satan,
with every kind of power, sign,
and false wonder,
10 and with every wicked deception
directed against those
who are perishing,
because they refused
the love of the truth
that would have saved them.
11 For this reason God will send them
a powerful delusion
so that they believe the lie,
12 in order that judgment may come
upon all who have disbelieved
the truth and delighted in wickedness.
Amidst all of the deception going around,
our protection is to know the Scriptures—
to know what the Word of God actually says—
and to know and follow our living Lord Jesus.
People around us may eagerly hope for
to reveal themselves, and save our planet.
But we will not be deceived.
Based on all the solid evidence we have
from the Scriptures, from history,
and from the creation around us,
our hope is in Christ—
for his Kingdom to come,
and for his will to be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
We won’t let speculation and false reports
turn us away from our true hope,
which is Christ crucified, risen and coming again.