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Have you ever seen something that was a counterfeit of the original? 

A counterfeit is produced with the intent to profit from the great value of the original. Paintings have been sold at great price that later were determined to have not been done by the master that did the original. Money has been copied in such great detail that the average consumer does not know how to spot it.

In the winter of 2015 the art world was rocked by a series of counterfeit paintings. Into this scene walked a different kind of hero—an art expert. James Martin is a tall man with a very quiet voice. 

From The Guardian: “He is a consummate nerd; find someone who looks at you the way Martin looks at his Fourier-transform infrared microscope. He trained as a conservator of paintings, but now he assays them: picks out their chemical constituents, inspects pigments and binders, peers under their washes of colour. From a painting’s materials, he can extract the vital detail of when it could, or could not, have been created.

"The field of scientific art conservation is not a crowded one; Martin, who set up the first for-profit art lab in the US, has been consulted in nearly every major fraud case in the past 25 years, often working alongside the FBI or other investigators.

"When he is described as the premier forensic detective working in art today, the accolade comes not only from people such as John Cahill, a New York lawyer who has managed dozens of art transactions, and who called Martin 'hands-down the best in the business,' but also from those on the other side of the fence, so to speak. Beltracchi, the German forger, told me that, after his arrest, he had seen an assortment of technical studies collected by the police and the prosecution. He remembered Martin’s well. 'His reports contained the most accurate results. His reports were factually neutral and without unrealistic guesses.'

"By folding Martin into its staff, Sotheby’s has given itself a muscular chance to stamp out problems of attribution before they flare into spectacular, expensive affairs. But it’s hard not to feel, at the same time, that it has cornered a precious resource, at a moment when the art world needs him most” ("How to spot a perfect fake: the world’s top art forgery detective," The Guardian).

Martin did not become an expert overnight. He spent years perfecting his skills. In one case he found phthalocyanine green, a pigment first synthesized four centuries after the purported artist died. This painting had passed the inspection of many very familiar with the way the famous artist did his works.

Can you spot counterfeit religion?

There is a religion that mimics true Christianity that is so compelling, few are able to get past the counterfeit and find the true one.

As Christians, we must determine what is real and what is counterfeit. Our eternal life depends on it! We have to dig into the details and hold them up to the microscopic inspection of what is the original and what is the fake.

The forensics of true religion lies in the pages of the Holy Bible. 

The entrapments of the counterfeit can blind you to their true origin if you are not willing to put them to the test. Where in the Bible do you find a description of a celebration involving hunting eggs to put in a basket and a bunny that lays eggs? Where do you find setting up a tree in your house, covering it with shiny glitz and wrapping presents to go under it?

These things are so ingrained in our society that I have known people to turn their backs on the original religion of the Bible in order to embrace the counterfeit.

The counterfeit religion has its roots in the ancient Babylonian religion, with such deep roots it has continued from generation to generation for thousands of years. It is what feels old and familiar and comfortable. People who are willing to abandon religion entirely are still caught up in these celebrations that tie back to a superstitious time of controlling the peasantry with made up stories of gods and goddesses that never truly existed.

What about you? Are you brave enough and hero enough to put the God of the Bible ahead of beloved celebrations that are not in the Holy Book?

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it" (Matthew 13:45-46).

How much are you willing to forfeit in the search for truth?

May we all be like the Bereans who searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so (Acts 17:11).

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  • SBushert

    An interesting aspect of the counterfeit phenomenon is that it is a two way street. When we come across an unfamiliar currency, or even an updated and improved version of our familiar currency, our counterfeit sensors go off and we falsely accuse the legitimate, valuable stuff.

    That reminds me of the churches we find in the introduction to the book Revelation. Several of them are easily misidentified as false churches. It's intersting that a couple are described as having a doctrine Jesus hates, but the doctrine is not clarified and we really do not know what that doctrine teaches. It's a real mystery.

    Perhaps that is related to Jesus' instruction to his angels in the Wheat and Tares Parable not to pull up tares in the world, because he does not want his valuable wheat pulled up which is entangled.

  • J G

    Stephen, you wrote saying the counterfeit phenomenon: "....reminds me of the churches we find in the introduction to the book Revelation. Several of them are easily misidentified as false churches. It’s intersting that a couple are described as having a doctrine Jesus hates, but the doctrine is not clarified and we really do not know what that doctrine teaches. It’s a real mystery.…"
    Some have done enough research to know that the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes Jesus hated concerned the Catholic Church which, hard to believe, for some hundreds of years actually observed the 7th day Sabbath. Yes, they had some truth, with lots of error, but it was of Satan's counterfeit ministry:
    2 Cor 11:13 For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
    14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
    15 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.
    Satan strived to bring into God's Church such characters as Simon Magus, Ananias and Sapphira, but God's sheep, John 10:9, 27-29, always remain in the best hands!

  • kansasdudess

    those churches are being described as falling away and growing lukewarm and only preaching those things
    they think others want to hear..they are giving out watered down doctrine..cherry picking what they want to discuss..they aren't doing the work of warning the people of whats about to befall them or how to void it..they have gone off the path and are preaching false doctrines..they don't want to run anybody off or put them off..and they are misusing the tithes...the same thing that modern churches are doing today..they have become false churches..
    I only discovered 8 mos ago bout the ll falls around the worship dy..the 7th day..they sitin those buildings on sunday and proclaim the truth they talk about the Sabbath .they read it from the bible..on sunday the pagan day of worship..ask any pastor what day is the Sabbath ..he will tell you come he doesn't know..he went to seminary school? how can they keep teaching the wrong day of worship when they study those bibles daily and in depth?

  • kathysanny

    Virginia thank you for your comment. Once we can see the truth, it is hard to understand why others do not. Satan deceives the whole world, and we too were once deceived. Many are convinced by the counterfeit religion that Christ did away with the 4th commandment, but Jesus said He did not come to destroy the law. He said til heaven and earth pass away not one jot or tittle would pass from the law. We are not to add to it or take away from it.

  • kathysanny

    Steven thank you for your insightful comments. I remember when the new $20 bills came out they did not seem like the real deal at first.
    It takes constant diligence to recognize the changes in the counterfeits Satan palms off on society. If we are not careful we can get caught up in the false reasoning used to justify things abhorrent to God. The Bible is our only source to identify what is real and what is fake.
    I have often thought that perhaps the tares do not know they are tares. It concerns me I could be a tare if I don't stay close to God and diligent about seeking His will in my life.

  • Skip Miller

    Hello DrA77a I believe you are sincere. Give them to Goodwill. (I have a problem with SALVATION Army.) (Sorry, that is my personal problem.) But the fact that you are willing to let them go is appreciated. Like so many other things (like conversion) we are, right now, not going to be able to control how people act or think. No, you are not encouraging Paganism. If your destination is anywhere close to San Diego, come and visit UCG San Diego Services. I'd like to meet you and share a meal.

  • DrA77a

    Hi Skip! Thank you for your reply. I'm glad I can pass them on, good point about controlling others. Your comment about the SA....I will have to do some research. We have a Goodwill too so will check them out.

    Thanks for the invite but I am clear across the country from you MA. Will be closer when I move to MN but still a long ways away!!

  • DrA77a

    Great article. Thank you!

    Now here is a question: I am packing up 40 years of stuff to move across country to be closer to my son/family. Since finding the truth here on UCG I have let go of many things related to the worldly holidays.

    However, I debate what to do with them henceforth. I've been giving them to the Salvation Army. But doesn't that further the unbelief for those who will buy them? Should I be putting them in the trash?

    Needless to say, but I'll say it anyhow....some of these items are very nice...collector dolls, handmade chimney stockings, etc.

  • Lena VanAusdle

    Moving is always daunting, but how exciting to move to be near family. It's also exciting that you're learning about God's holy days versus man's holidays. Regarding your Christmas things, it's really up to your conscience what you do with them. Some people give them to their Christmas keeping family as heirlooms, some people throw them in the trash, and some do as you have, give them to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. If it bothers you to know that someone might purchase the items and use them to celebrate Christmas, then it is better to throw them away. That being said, if they are valuable items that could be used outside of Christmas celebration (but they hold reminders of Christmas for you) then I don't see why it would be a problem to donate them.

  • kathysanny

    We went through the same dilemma. For years my husbands aunt bought us a collectible Hallmark ornament that remained in their boxes tucked in the back of a closet. When she passed away, we began to think about whether we should keep these "idols" in our home. I ended up taking them to a silent auction for a fellow worker who had severe health issues and we were trying to raise money for her medical expenses. This way we felt maybe some good could come from his aunt's good intentions and decided people would buy ornaments whether we put them up for sale or threw them in the trash.

  • J G

    Kathy stated: "..As Christians, we must determine what is real and what is counterfeit. Our eternal life depends on it!.."
    Eternal life depends on The Porter and Christ our Passover sacrificed for us (John 10:2-3, 9, 28-29!
    The entire world has been deceived by Satan, who takes individuals captive at his will (2 Tim 2:26). This world is still held captive by that most subtil beast of the field!
    A question asked was: "..Where in the Bible do you find a description of...setting up a tree in your house, covering it with shiny glitz..?"
    Jeremiah 10:3-5 is a very close description. Why? Satan, a deceiver, imitates virtually everything that is "of God," and that was as true in the days of Jeremiah as it is in our day today.
    One may present God's truth on a platinum platter in front of our faces and we still wouldn't recognize it unless/until God, who accomplishes things by His Spirit (Zech 4:6), first gives us the mind, eyes and ears to perceive:
    Deut 29:4 "Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day."
    Thank God for His Spirit (Eph 1:19) allowed into one's life (John 6:44; Rom 8:9), and into "the rest" later! John 12:32

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