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Sunday, October 25, 2020

An Urgent Message To Americans And The World

 This is a most timely message from Cornerstone Chapel, well worth the time to listen.

https://cornerstonechapel.net/

Thursday, October 8, 2020

End Times And The Pre-Tribulation Heresy

The doctrine of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture of Christians prior to the appearance of the Antichrist and his reign of tribulation terror over the earth is not biblical and offers false hope. It is a devastating doctrine that had never been taught at any time during the first seventeen centuries of the Church and has been taken out of context from verses in Matthew chapter 24 along with 1st and 2nd Thessalonians that refers specifically to the second coming of Christ during the midst of Antichrist’s reign of terror and death perpetrated against the Church.

In terms of bible history this doctrine is a relatively new belief that may have originated in Scotland in 1830, when a woman named Mary MacDonald received a "revelation" that the Church would not go through the end-time Tribulation. 

Others attribute the Rapture doctrine to Edward Irving, the leading figure in forming the Catholic Apostolic Church in England in the 1830s and it spread in the early 19th century. The Irish Bible teacher John Nelson Darby believed that this new truth was from God, and during a conference in 1831-33 he began to share the new teaching among the Plymouth Brethren where he was an influential leader. It is no coincidence that McDonald, Irving and Darby all lived at the same time in Great Britain.The doctrine was widely promoted in America through C. I. Scofield's Study Bible (1909, 1917), and it became a central pillar of the Dispensational Movement. It is still taught in many Protestant evangelical Bible schools, seminaries and churches as part of their statements of faith. It is by far the dominant prophetic view in Christian media. 

Several Messianic Jewish organizations and congregations also teach it as part of their pro-Israel, prophetic Last Days scenario. 


In short, the pre-tribulation rapture theory is the delusional brain child of those wishing to persuade Christians who are mostly not well versed in eschatological scripture, it appeals to the idea of escaping any of the pain and deprivation that is inflicted on believers by the followers of Antichrist. One believing this heresy must ask themselves if they really think that for some reason they are special and of more value to God than were the Christians down through the ages that were murdered, sawn in two, eaten by lions, boiled in oil, burned at the stake, crucified, and more recently the tens of thousands in the Mid-East, Asia and Africa who are being murdered in droves every day. 


The “Great Tribulation” is a horrifying period inflicted upon the Church by the followers of Antichrist that precedes the return of Christ, there is evidence that it has already begun. At some point immediately following the tribulation God will empty the bowls of His wrath on Antichrist and those who follow. These are closely coupled but separate events recorded in chronological order, the first event is described by John on the Isle of Patmos as he was given a foreshadowing of the future in (Revelation 6:9-11) “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, “Oh Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.”


The Great Tribulation of the church is not the wrath of God but the result of Satan’s diabolical hatred that is perpetrated against all believers. Satan’s destruction of the Church is then followed by the wrath of God against the Antichrist and all who refuse to repent and have turned their faces away from Jesus. (Revelation 6:12-17) 

“When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale; the sky vanished like a scroll that is rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the generals and the rich and the strong, and every one, slave and free, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand before it?” 

Then as the angel opened the seventh seal a lengthy series of horrifying actions are levied against the Antichrist and his followers. It is written; “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)


Then in the immediate aftermath according to (Revelation 7:9-14).

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!’ And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.’ Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, ‘Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”


The Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine is a theory that sets people up for the catastrophic collapse of their faith, God does not do that to His people.This has happened countless times over the last two centuries since this Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine has been disseminated around the world by missionaries, through Christian literature, and satellite evangelists. Christians in several oppressive countries were taught that Jesus was coming soon to take them out of trouble and believing so, they did not flee or choose to fight their oppressors. Many perished, needlessly, clutching to misplaced hope thinking that since God loved them He would rescue them, but their faith was decimated, they believed that God had failed them and had lied to them. 


What value is the Rapture Message to true believers who are perishing daily in Communist and Islamic countries? Or to believers in Western Democracies who are seeing their nations being burned and destroyed by secular, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, racist, nihilist Leftists?

Those preaching this false doctrine are acting either out of their own drone-like acceptance of what was erroneously taught in seminary and lack of their own due diligence in searching the scripture, or out of the desire to grow a greater church following, get more tithes and offerings, and sell more books and videos to those having “itching ears.” They will be held accountable as they stand before the Lord at the end of the age for misleading many. 


Negative publicity about the false Rapture doctrine tends to create a defensive reaction similar to what we may refer to as "Demetrius Rage” as can be read about in (Acts 19:23-41). Demetrius was a silversmith who along with many others were profiting from making and selling statues of the pagan goddess Artemis. He became infuriated at the Apostle Paul’s proclamation that Artemis  was a false god and sought to prosecute him. Bible expositors preaching the pre-tribulation doctrine react the same way when this teaching is exposed as erroneous, as they know it puts them in league with false prophets and destroys their credibility and adversely affects their future income.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Relevance Of Ancient Bible Prophecy With Current Events

The nations of the world are all currently embroiled in great internal and external strife. Most of it is meaningless in terms of eternity and is always based on petty jealousies, envy and the same evil mentality that drove Cain to murder his brother Able and it only serves to obscure mankind from the advent of the greatest event in world history. As I write this Turkey is arising once again as a major political and military force in Central Asia. Turkish President Erdogan is moving his nation from a Secular Democracy to an Islamic Theocracy and attempting to assert political influence over the Euro-Asian world. He is intent on reestablishing the former Ottoman Empire and it’s control over Europe and Asia. The leadership of the European Union and Nato are ineffectual against hegemony by aggressive nations, the only effective deterrence at this time would normally be the United States which is embroiled in it’s own violent domestic affairs and may be the target of a nuclear strike by China and a number of other Rogue nations. It appears that the clock is ticking and time is right for all these things to take place.

 

It’s important to know the current names of nations mentioned in the following prophecy rather than by their ancient names in order for it to make sense. Also that the implements of warfare as described were common at the time of the prophesy, the reader should understand that Ezekiel was referring to a latter day event which thus far has not transpired and that the armies mentioned will have modern armaments and equipment.The names of the nations and states that will be arrayed against Israel are as follows:

 

Beth -Togarmah - Turkey

Gomer - Turkey

Tubal (Tubalu in Cappadocia) - Turkey

Meshech (Muschki and Musku in Cilicia and Cappadocia) - Turkey

Rosh (Sarmatians known as Rashu, Rasapu, Ros and Rus) - Russia

Magog (Scythians) - Islamic southern republics of the former Soviet Union in central Asia.

Persia - Iran

Cush - Sudan

Put - Libya


The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him and say, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; and I will turn you about, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you forth, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great company, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords; Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all his hordes; Beth-togar′mah from the uttermost parts of the north with all his hordes, many peoples are with you.

“Be ready and keep ready, you and all the hosts that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them. After many days you will be mustered; in the latter years you will go against the land that is restored from war, the land where people were gathered from many nations upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste; its people were brought out from the nations and now dwell securely, all of them. You will advance, coming on like a storm, you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your hordes, and many peoples with you.

“Thus says the Lord God: On that day thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme and say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages; I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates’; to seize spoil and carry off plunder; to assail the waste places which are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who have gotten cattle and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth. Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all its villages will say to you, ‘Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your hosts to carry off plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to seize great spoil?’

“Therefore, son of man, prophesy, and say to Gog, Thus says the Lord God: On that day when my people Israel are dwelling securely, you will bestir yourself and come from your place out of the uttermost parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great host, a mighty army; you will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land. In the latter days I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. 

(Ezekiel 38: 1-16)


                                                                                   



“Thus says the Lord God: Are you he of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who in those days prophesied for years that I would bring you against them? But on that day, when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, says the Lord God, my wrath will be roused. For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, On that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; the fish of the sea, and the birds of the air, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground. I will summon every kind of terror against Gog, says the Lord God; every man’s sword will be against his brother. With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him; and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples that are with him, torrential rains and hailstones, fire and brimstone. So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord. 

(Ezekiel 38: 17-23)


Considering how fragile and unsettling the future looks for so many in various places throughout the world one would think that it might be prudent to make amends with the Lord and establish a permanent place on the right side of God in eternity. 


“When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.” (Matthew 25:31-33)


Take an inventory of your life and admit to God that you are a sinner and have fallen short of His perfection, ask Jesus to come into your life and forgive your sins and give you a new and eternal future. 


because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 

(Romans 10:9-13)

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

He Is Coming, Every Eye Will See Him

As he(Jesus) sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” (Matthew 24: 3)

Jesus said: “They will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because wickedness is multiplied, most men’s love will grow cold. But he who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come. Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24: 9-14, 29-31)

The world is experiencing a sharp rise in anti-semitism, the persecution of Jews and Christians in these current times.


Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. (1 Peter 4:12-14)

Since 2009 there have been no less than 32,000 Christians butchered in Nigeria 
by Jihadists and many have been murdered in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 


Churches have been pillaged, desecrated and destroyed and Christians intimidated, beaten and murdered in various countries throughout the world.


Europe has experienced a growing number of acts of vandalism and destruction of Christian sites, the greatest number of such acts have occurred in France, where churches, schools, cemeteries, and monuments are being vandalized, desecrated, and burned at an average rate of three per day, according to reports drawing from government statistics.


Western European nations having large Muslim migrant populations are seeing a disproportionate rise in attacks on churches and Christian symbols. According to a 2017 study of France, which has the largest Muslim population in Europe, Islamist extremist attacks on Christians rose by 38%, going from 273 attacks in 2015 to 376 in 2016; the majority occurred during Christmas season and many of the attacks took place in churches and other places of worship. Similarly, around Christmas 2016, in Germany where more than a million Muslims reside, some 50 public Christian statues including those of Jesus were beheaded and crucifixes broken.


In the years following the death and resurrection of Christ the apostle John was banished to the Greek Isle of Patmos by the Roman Emperor Domitian for proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. During this time he was visited by the angel of the Lord and was taken up from his confines and given a vision of events yet to come.

“I John, your brother, who share with you in Jesus the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. After this I looked, and lo, in heaven an open door! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up hither, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and lo, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne! And he who sat there appeared like jasper and carnelian, and round the throne was a rainbow that looked like an emerald. Round the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clad in white garments, with golden crowns upon their heads.”
(Revelation 1:9 & 4:1-4)

“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. 
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen. Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, ‘Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’” (Revelation 6: 9-11 &7: 9-14)


“First of all you must understand this, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own passions and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation. But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3: 3-4, 8)

The Jewish calendar and not the Gregorian is the legitimate calendar used in reference to biblical prophesy and is approaching the year 6000, which will comprise the Lord's six days which will coincide with the Gregorian calendar date 2027. Bible scholars believe the tribulation of the church and of all bible believers will reach a zenith in 2022, followed by the return of Christ at the end of His six days.

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that He is near, at the very gates." (Matthew 24: 32-33)

Most of the prophesies concerning the return of Jesus Christ the Messiah have been fulfilled, most notably the return of the Jews to their promised land Israel  which sets the stage and backdrop for the sudden return of the Lord and Savior.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed which no one knows but himself. He is clad in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, followed him on white horses. From his mouth issues a sharp sword with which to smite the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords. (Revelation 1-8 & 19: 11-16)


Sunday, June 7, 2020

War Of Two Worlds Heaven And Earth

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants what must soon take place; and he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is he who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written therein; for the time is near. (Revelation 1: 1-3)

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short! (Revelation 12: 7-9, 12)


The world has become filled with terror and violence in recent times. America once the bastion of freedom, peace and civility has erupted into rioting. Men and their families are terrified as cars burn in the streets, buildings burning, rioting, mayhem, looting and murder. A political rift had become a festering cancer and eventually morphed into a chasm, that which in human terms will not and cannot ever be bridged again. This however is not simply a flesh and blood battle, it goes much deeper. There exists an evil cabal that emanates from spiritual realms intending to manifest control over the entire Earth.


But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. (Jude 1:17-19)


Nations once steeped in an abiding reverence of God has turned away and enthroned mankind while worshipping the earth and embracing a demonic religion. Secular Humanism is the belief that man not God controls destiny and the future of the world. Women murder their children in their own wombs without conscience, all manner of sin and licentiousness is considered good and acceptable and is no longer called evil.

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. (2Timothy 3: 1-4)


Take heart and understand that this is has been prophesied long ago. The bible references to what happened at Sodom and Gomorrah and in the days of Noah are but foreshadowings of God’s retribution and judgment that would come. What the world is experiencing is a rage which will not last, Antichrist and their followers will be cast into the pit at the soon coming and return of Christ.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. (Ephesians 6: 10 - 18)


Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed which no one knows but himself. He is clad in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, followed him on white horses. From his mouth issues a sharp sword with which to smite the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords. (Revelation 19: 11-16)

Sunday, April 26, 2020

What is a church?

From the Greek word “Ecclesia,” we have arrived at the modern term “Church”
which indicates a meeting or gathering of people who religiously share common beliefs and interests. Some congregations comprise a number of people who are piously interested in being known for doing good works and righting social injustices. Some think of church in terms of a meeting place specifically  designated as a church building or perhaps an ornate cathedral. This is all very nice and commendable but it not related to God’s new covenant with mankind.

When the woman of Samaria met Jesus at the well the following conversation ensued - Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. (John 4: 20-21)

For centuries the Jews who worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have met and worshipped in the synagogue where God would meet the chief priest once a year under certain conditions in the Holy of Holies, a room separated from the rest of the congregation by a thick curtain. During this moment the chief priest would sprinkle the blood of a lamb on what was called the mercy seat and on the basis of that blood the sins of Israel would be rolled back for another year. The lamb selected was to be without spot or blemish and was considered by God to represent the blood that the Lamb of God, His own Son Jesus would shed for the sins of all mankind on Calvary.

The conversation with the Samaritan woman continued - Jesus said, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming he who is called Christ; when he comes, he will show us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” (John 4: 23-26)

When Jesus was speaking to his disciples he said -  “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you”. (John14: 15-17)
This is what Jesus was also referring to when He spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, that His Holy Spirit would meet with and dwell within every believer and would later be manifest at Pentecost.

At the time of His death on the cross - “And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split.” (Matthew 27: 51) This was to signify that there was now a new covenant between God and man, that he would no longer meet them in buildings made by human hands.

The church in historic bible scripture refers to the meeting of those who believe and trust in Jesus the Son of God as Lord and Savior, and may consist of just a few or of many and has little to do with the good works we may do other than as gratitude after the fact for what God through Christ has done for us.

We are admonished not to forsake meeting together - Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews10: 19-25)

We see that Day drawing near and just as in the first century the persecution of the church by the sons of Satan is increasing daily throughout the world. It may become necessary to meet quietly in homes and in smaller numbers than in the usual great numbers and meeting places. But know this, that you and I are the church! - Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Christians Already Possess the Greatest Thing Ever

We’re all hunkered down in our homes in fear of the death and sickness that will come
both from a new illness and the economic fallout of attempting to combat it.
Atop that, a generation of teenagers is committing suicide under our noses, according to this article in The Atlantic. The reason? Smartphones and social media, a toxic sludge of isolation, dependency, and meaninglessness heaped onto the already fraught ground of adolescence.

Today, young people are sleeping with their phones instead of with each other like the old days. At least the bitterest fruit of the old sins would have been a beautiful new baby, a new life. Now the hypnotic glow of the device draws life out solely unto itself.
We hear the news, meanwhile, that in an Oregon lab scientists have “corrected” faulty genes underlying a heart condition, raising the specter of genetic engineering of human DNA. This is the “Gattica”-esque prelude to designer babies, the scientifically advanced—and obviously superior—species into which humble and mortal homo sapiens can morph itself.

Soon hopeful parents will face the Hobson’s choice of genetically engineering children predesigned, predestined, prepackaged, and artificially developed for what the world deems to be physical and mental perfection, or consigning their pitiful, “natural” kin to a lifetime of subhuman status, kicked into society’s gutters for their disgusting diseases, defects, and obvious inferiorities. Hopefully the parents-to-be will have that choice. Perhaps back-alley abortions will give way to back-alley births.

Men as God
Do you doubt the rising tide? As if to punctuate the point that our modern culture and law lack the moral grammar necessary to grapple with something as basic as human dignity, we heard in recent years that the British courts euthanized—in First Things’ apropos telling—the young child Charlie Gard, superseding his parents’ desperate attempt to save his life because it deemed his pathetic and pain-ridden life not worth living.

It is now taken as assumed in polite society that a stagnant geriatric existence is not worth bothering with, and that we will be better off ending things while healthy and self-satisfied. Better to die with dignity, this wisdom says, than live with Alzheimer’s; the breath of life being no more dignified than the cold corpse. Now, the dawn of a higher life form, the genetically perfected Being, ourselves its loving Creator, while in chorus our omniscient Judgment deems the old, diseased life itself worthy of nothing more than unceremonious, quiet discard. And they say God is dead.

Look around you. Can you not see the coming apotheosis of humanity? We are hurtling towards humanism technologically deified, invested with the raw power to do every conceivable thing. To live forever, to know all things, to eradicate our own suffering, to eliminate the vocabulary of pain. We will be gods capable of all things but one: γάπη.
Agápe, that indefinable love defined by its exclusion of our sinful self-centeredness, that love from the infinitesimal pinpoint of the individual will that rejects itself for the sake of, and only for the sake of, God and his created. To love God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind, and all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, is agápe. It is also, not incidentally, the only way to be truly alive, to live outside yourself, to taste the joy of God.
These three banal news stories are different currents in the same flooding river. We know this flood well. It sprang from the sinister promise in Eden that man could be like God, and it has ebbed and flowed ever since. The bride of God’s son, Christ, the church, seems powerless in its path.

What about the World Is Part of the Church?
Regarding the church’s ill-advised union with popular politics and culture over the last half century, Rod Dreher put this way: “Too many of us are doubling down on the failed strategies that not only have failed to convert Americans but have also done little to halt the assimilation of Christians to secular norms and beliefs.”
I haven’t yet read Dreher’s book, “The Benedict Option," but it is curious that in discussing the book he seemed at every turn to have to defend himself from the claim that he was “not advocate[ing] complete Christian withdrawal from the public sphere.” Why on earth not? What has the public sphere for the Christian? For the church?
I once read an good interview of a prominent Catholic bishop—I cannot recall who or where. The good bishop bemoaned what Dreher and others call “moralistic therapeutic deism,” a cancerous heresy infecting virtually every sect of Christianity today.
Briefly, MTD is a godless religion without struggle, sacrifice, or a remotely plausible view of reality. More importantly, MTD is a strain of the solipsistic materialism that pervades our world today. The bishop complained that MTD, as a philosophy fundamentally centered on the self, ultimately leads to a worldview sympathetic to abortion, LBGT preferences, and so forth.
How true he may be, but how he misses the mark! The church offers what MTD, materialism, smartphones, modern science and courts and kings and judgments, what nothing, nothing else can offer: γάπη. God. God is γάπη, and γάπη is God.

The Point Is Salvation, Not Winning at Politics
Souls cannot be won at the ballot box or on HBO or in The New York Times; they are washed at the baptismal font and fed at the altar. The church is great not because it saves us from abortion- and LBGT-relativism but because it gives us God. The church is great because at her altar we physically, literally, and tangibly come into material contact with God on earth.

If this sounds like sermonizing, perhaps it is because the church should do less politicking and more sermonizing. If it sounds like mysticism, perhaps it is because the church should be less embarrassed about embracing the mystical union of God and man, particularly in a world where the enemies of God proclaim that men can give birth to children and that we live in an infinite number of parallel universes.

If it sounds rudimentary, perhaps it is because the church should retreat into itself by remembering first precisely what it is. The ark of the church has never been more urgently needed, nor ever raised higher by the waters. A generation lost to smartphones is a generation crying out for purpose. A humanity on the brink of dystopian eugenics needs more than ever the tender mercy of the church to comfort the sick. A culture of death needs an infusion of life.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life,” says Christ. God promises his people will find him if they seek him. “But you,” the Almighty promises his church, “take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”
Take courage. The church need not fear being marginalized, victimized, humiliated, or downtrodden. It should not fear what is inevitable. Ride the storm with conviction and love, with open doors for those flailing in the waters, but remain courageously in the ark. Your work shall be rewarded.

The Federalist