Wednesday, May 27, 2015

We Prodigals All

(Luke 12: 2 - 3) Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

When I was young death was never a concern as it only happened to other people, besides knowing that I was young and had the world by the tail, there was much up ahead that needed to be accomplished. This is not unlike how many people feel about their own lives, questions about mortality are forever being relegated to the unimportant files of their unconscious mind. Seeing some of my fellow soldiers in body bags still hadn’t sunk in until my own delusions about this matter were shattered in Southeast Asia as enemy bullets were clapping violently past my head and the stark reality exploded in my mind that death was suddenly eminent. In a small frightened voice this pathetic young agnostic cried out, “Jesus help me!” Several years later as I heard the following story it dawned on me that I was that boy and that God had heard me cry out many years earlier sparing me, knowing that I would eventually respond to the promptings of this message.

(Luke 15: 11 - 24) “There was a man who had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.’ And he divided his living between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living. And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry.

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped; and shot, precipitated,
and down titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
from those strong feet that followed, followed after.
but with unhurrying chase, and unperturbèd pace,
deliberate speed, majestic instancy 
and a voice beat more instant than the feet
"All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.”

(From The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson 1859-1907)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Concerning Time And The Fulfillment Of Prophecy

The prophecy concerning the coming of the Messiah and God's plan for mankind is intended to be fulfilled throughout multiple sequences at different periods in terms of mankind’s measurement of time, which is because we are finite beings in this life where all things are measured in terms of past, present and future. God is infinite and lives in the present which is eternal. The following scriptures are references to time in the bible as we understand it and how it is applicable to our understanding of god’s plan for us.

(Galatians 4: 3 - 5) So with us; when we were children, we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe. But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

(Ephesians 1: 9 - 11) For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

(1Timothy 6: 14 - 15) I charge you to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; and this will be made manifest at the proper time by the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,

(1 Peter 1: 19 - 21) but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake. Through him you have confidence in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

(Revelation 1: 2 - 4)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 11: 17 - 19) “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, that you have taken your great power and begun to reign. The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”

(Revelation 22: 10 - 11) And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.” 

Today we are painfully aware that scoffers abound everywhere, unbelief is rampant and those who are falling away are many. 

(2 Peter 3: 3 - 4) 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.”

(Matthew 24: 36 - 38) “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark.

God’s plan for mankind is presented in seven phases starting with the Fall of man which brought sin and death into the world. 

The second phase was giving of the law whereby God provided the yardstick by which man could measure his failure. 

The third phase was the creation of the Levitical priesthood and blood sacrifices, introducing God’s required means of expiation for sin. 

The fourth phase and the first half of the prophecy concerning the coming of the Messiah to fulfill God’s requirement as the final sacrifice for sin, (Isaiah 11: 1 - 3) There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; (John 1 -29) “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Then a fifth phase comprising two thousand year hyphen as a show of God’s forbearance so that many would receive Christ and thus be saved. 
(John 3: 16 -17) “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” 

Then the sixth phase, the second half of Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the coming of the Messiah, this time to judge the living and the dead and bring in righteousness to the world and change the nature of all things. Those who died in Christ will be with Him during a thousand year reign of peace.
(Isaiah 11: 4 - 9) “and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist, and faithfulness the girdle of his loins. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.”
The cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

The seventh and final phase will bring with it the final judgment of those who died outside of Christ and refused to acknowledge Him in the entirety of their lives, they will be judged by merit of their own works rather than by the accomplishment of Christ on Calvary.
(Revelation 21: 1 -8) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the fountain of the water of life without payment. He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.”

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Second Coming, Third Pivotal Event In History

Belief in the eventual coming of the messiah is a basic and fundamental part of traditional Judaism. The Shemoneh Esrei prayer is recited three times a day as they pray for all of the elements of the coming of the Messiah, an ingathering of the exiles, restoration of the religious courts of justice, an end of wickedness and sin, a reward to the righteous, a rebuilding of Jerusalem, a restoration of the line of King David and restoration of temple service.
Scholars insist that the messianic concept was introduced during the age of the prophets. They note that the messianic concept is not explicitly mentioned anywhere in the Torah (the first five books of the Bible).
However, traditional Judaism maintains that the messianic idea has always been a part of Judaism. The Messiah is not mentioned explicitly in the Torah, because the Torah was written in terms that all people could understand, and the concept of a distant, spiritual, future reward was beyond the comprehension of some people. However, the Torah contains several references to "the End of Days" which is the time of the Messiah, thus the concept was known in the most ancient times. The fact that Jews are stuck almost solely in the first five books of the bible (Torah) is clearly the reason of how and why the knowledge and understanding of what has been referred to in Isaiah and in the writings of other prophets has been missed and glossed over historically by the Jews. In terms of the desire for an end of wickedness and sin how would that ever happen? How could the Jewish people overlook the concept of Passover and countless centuries of sacrifice and blood letting done for deliverance from bondage and as an expiation for sin had that not had greater significance in God's overall plan?
(Isaiah 52: 13 - 15 and Isaiah 53) Behold, my servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. As many were astonished at him his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the sons of men, so shall he startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they shall see, and that which they have not heard they shall understand.

(Matthew 24: 29 - 31) “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.”

(Revelation 6: 9 - 16) 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.
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?”

(Revelation 11: 9 -16) 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.

(Zechariah 12: 1 - 10) The word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus says the Lord, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him: “Lo, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of reeling to all the peoples round about; it will be against Judah also in the siege against Jerusalem. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it shall grievously hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will come together against it. On that day, says the Lord, I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But upon the house of Judah I will open my eyes, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the Lord of hosts, their God.’
“On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a blazing pot in the midst of wood, like a flaming torch among sheaves; and they shall devour to the right and to the left all the peoples round about, while Jerusalem shall still be inhabited in its place, in Jerusalem.
“And the Lord will give victory to the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not be exalted over that of Judah. On that day the Lord will put a shield about the inhabitants of Jerusalem so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the Lord, at their head. And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that, when they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born.
(Zechariah 13) “On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.

Israel, God's Time Piece

Imagine if you will how disappointing it would be to be told that your heirs would inherit a nation and be revered throughout the world only to discover that your wife is barren and unable to conceive. This was the case with Sarai and Abram and so like some do today Sarai opted to have a surrogate woman conceive with her husband’s sperm and bear a child as an heir. Today it is done very impersonally by in-vitro fertilization, but in Abram’s time he was required to physically copulate with the surrogate mother which would have created an emotional and spiritual chasm between any two women. The thought of her husband laying naked with another woman and fathering a child with her would have been difficult to bear and is usually grounds for divorce in our times.
What made matters even worse was the haughty attitude of the surrogate 
mother Hagar towards Sarai, Abram’s only rightful and beloved spouse. So it’s of little wonder that when Sarai (Sarah) eventually gave birth to her own son Isaac fathered by Abram (Abraham) that she came to the place where she had enough of Hagar’s haughty insolence and sent her away.
What would exacerbate future matters was that when Hagar was making her way through the desert with her son Ishmael she was informed by a messenger that her son would become the father of nations. Imagine the ensuing spite-filled conversations between the mother and son over the following years, of how he was Abraham’s first born and by that right alone he should be the heir of God’s promise to Abraham rather than Isaac. Would not this have created great enmity between the sons of Ishmael and Isaac in the generations to follow?

Bible history backed by archeological discoveries have provided more than sufficient evidence that the current location of the nation of Israel is the rightful homeland of the Jews promised long ago by God where there exists thousands of years of Jewish history there that is clearly evident. In 70AD the Jews were scattered to the far corners of the earth by the violence perpetrated by surrogate forces of the Roman Empire. In the early 1900’s when the British still controlled Palestine and the surrounding area known as the Holy Lands, the United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community petitioned the Crown to set aside a Jewish Homeland, this became known as the Balfour Declaration. God put the desire into the hearts of the Jews of the diaspora who were scattered throughout Europe following the horrific holocaust of WWII perpetrated against Jews by the demonic will of Adolf Hitler and the Jewish Nation was reborn. The Jews returned to what was then a desolate land inhabited by Arabs and Bedouins and over time have created a beautiful country, turning desert waste into lush gardens, all throughout which time they have come under continual attack by the sons of Hagar and Ishmael. Even now the enmity and murderous lies and acts of violent terrorism perpetrated by The illegitimate offspring of Abraham threaten to destroy Israel just as Cain destroyed Able which is backed by a resurgence of an anti semitic mindset within the United Nations whose armies will be sent to interfere on behalf of Israel's enemies.

(Psalm 83) O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear, do not stand aloof, O God.
See how your enemies growl, how your foes rear their heads. 
With cunning they conspire against your people; they plot against those you cherish. 
“Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation, so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.” With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you—
the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, of Moab and the Hagrites, Byblos, Ammon and Amalek, 
 Philistia, with the people of Tyre. Even Assyria has joined them to reinforce Lot’s descendants.
Do to them as you did to Midian,  as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon, 
who perished at Endor and became like dung on the ground. Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,  all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, who said, “Let us take possession 
 of the pasturelands of God.” Make them like tumbleweed, my God, like chaff before the wind.
As fire consumes the forest or a flame sets the mountains ablaze, so pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your storm. Cover their faces with shame, Lord, so that they will seek your name. May they ever be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace. Let them know that you, whose name is the Lord, that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.

(Zechariah 14: 1 - 4, 6 - 7 & 12) Behold, a day of the Lord is coming, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in the midst of you. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women ravished; half of the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives which lies before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley; so that one half of the Mount shall withdraw northward, and the other half southward. On that day there shall be neither cold nor frost. And there shall be continuous day (it is known to the Lord), not day and not night, for at evening time there shall be light. 
And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will smite all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh shall rot while they are still on their feet, their eyes shall rot in their sockets, and their tongues shall rot in their mouths. 

Yes and rightly so amen!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Is The Great Tribulation Close At Hand?

The scriptures make reference to “The AntiChrist” in different texts, he’s referred to as “The Lawless One” and “The Man of Sin.” There are a number of people who would fit those descriptions today but the individual in the bible is characterized as one who goes to Jerusalem (City of “God’s Peace”) and magnifies himself and denies the existence of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob proclaiming himself to be the incarnation of the Almighty. (This part is pure speculation on my part but most likely it will be the moon god Allah in the person of Al Mahdi. A majority of Shiite Muslims traditionally believe that the “12th Imam” Islamic religious leader, born in 868 A.D., was placed by God into hiding (known as occultation) until the day of judgment. Many Shiites also refer to the 12th Imam as the Mahdi, an Arabic word that generally references an Islamic messiah.

“The rabbis as a whole consider that the desecration of the temple was perpetrated by the erection of a statue of Zeus in its sacred precincts by Antiochus Epiphanes” according to the Jewish Encyclopedia.

This same abominable type of act will signal the commencement of a great tribulation initiated by antichrist to purge the earth of all Jews and Christians. That time will be accompanied by a falling away by those nominal believers, who being fearful for their lives will deny their faith in the one true God. This is “the rebellion” referred to by Christ in His Olivet Discourse and again by Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians.

(Matthew 24:15 - 21) “So when you see the desolating sacrilege spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house; and let him who is in the field not turn back to take his mantle. And alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.

(2 Thessalonians 2: 1-12) Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling to meet him, we beg you, brethren, not to be quickly shaken in mind or excited, either by spirit or by word, or by letter purporting to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you this? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by his appearing and his coming. The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Tribulation may also come to the lives of believers through world wide economic disaster. Recalling (Genesis 11) concerning the tower of Babel and how mankind was united under one tongue and had striven to attain the heights of God by building the ziggurat. God tore it down and scattered the people confuting their language. This was an early image of the later civilization known as Babylon, a great city and culture that had swallowed up other nations and tribes uniting them again under one language and one ruler Nebuchadnezzar, who later commanded all to worship an idol he had set up as he magnified himself in his heart above God.(Daniel 3: & 4:) 

(Isaiah 14: 12 - 14) In reference to Lucifer: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.’

Fallen man is driven to emulate Lucifer’s mindset, reaching for the stars in space programs while many nations had converged under one language in the twin towers of the World Trade Center where the kings of the world calculated and controlled the world’s wealth. Is there any wonder that God allowed those demon worshippers to destroy this modern day ziggurat as a once great nation goes into economic decline and eventual obscurity?

(Revelation 17:1 - 2) Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who is seated upon many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and with the wine of whose fornication the dwellers on earth have become drunk.” 

(Revelation 14:8 - 12) Another angel, a second, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of her impure passion.” 

(Revelation 18:9) And the kings of the earth, who committed fornication and were wanton with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning; they will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, “Alas! alas! thou great city, thou mighty city, Babylon! In one hour has thy judgment come.”

(Revelation 14: 9 -12) And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If any one worships the beast and its image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also shall drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured unmixed into the cup of his anger, and he shall be tormented with fire and sulphur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”
Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

It may be that those believers still alive will endure untold hardship and deprivation rather than disobeying God’s command concerning this economic number. The Lords Prayer that is rattled off so mindlessly will then take on much greater meaning in the lives of many.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Isaac, Ishmael And Coming Of Antichrist

Returning again to Abraham and his two sons Isaac and Ishmael we will see how their offspring are having a bigger impact on current times in the Mid-East than one might have possibly even imagined fifty or one hundred years ago and how it plays into events just preceding the Second Coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ. The next passages are important and germane to one’s understanding the events in a biblical perspective as they continue to unfold.

(Genesis 15:1 - 6) After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what wilt thou give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Elie′zer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, thou hast given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness. 

(Genesis 16: 1-12) Now Sar′ai, Abram’s wife, bore him no children. She had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar; and Sar′ai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children; go in to my maid; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sar′ai. So, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, Sar′ai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Sar′ai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my maid to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!” But Abram said to Sar′ai, “Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sar′ai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her. The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, maid of Saar′ai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sar′ai.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her.” The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will so greatly multiply your descendants that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” And the angel of the Lord said to her, “Behold, you are with child, and shall bear a son; you shall call his name Ish′mael; because the Lord has given heed to your affliction. He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against every man and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.” 

Take note of the similarities in behavior between these two people and those of Adam and Eve. Rather than heed God’s promise and wait on the Lord to provide an heir through them, they proceeded to take matters into their own hands and Abram fathered a child named Ishmael with Sarai’s Egyptian maid. Ishmael became the father of many arab nations. God made Abram a promise which to this day has been in dispute by the offspring of Ishmael.

(Genesis 17:1 - 6) When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you.
(Genesis 17:15 - 21) And God said to Abraham, “As for Sar′ai your wife, you shall not call her name Sar′ai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her; I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” And Abraham said to God, “O that Ish′mael might live in thy sight!” God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. As for Ish′mael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him and make him fruitful and multiply him exceedingly; he shall be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this season next year.”   
(Genesis 21:1 - 7) The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; every one who hears will laugh over me.” And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would suckle children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

(genesis 21: 8 -13) And the child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the lad and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your descendants be named. And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.” 

There has been enmity between the generations of these two brother’s down through the ages. Some claim that the current problems are about land some say it’s oil, others claim that it is the result of tampering by western nations or the fallout from the Crusades of the middle ages. However the crux of the problem emanates from the heirs of Ishmael who manifest the spirit of Cain which is forever filled with envy and rancor disputing continuously in their hearts over who would be the legitimate heirs of the promise made to Abraham. The heirs of Isaac who like Able are children of the promise and blessed with many gifts from God struggle daily to survive the murderous Cain-like assaults of their neighbors.

The sons of Ishmael adopted their own false religion worshipping the “Moon god,” one of the many gods of ancient Arabia. The Antichrist’s kingdom is the Middle East, represented by the three animals of the beast out of the sea in (Revelation 13). These correspond to the three empires of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, and Daniel’s vision of the beasts: the leopard (Alexander’s empire, including Syria, Egypt, Turkey and Afghanistan); the lion (Babylonia/Iraq); and the bear (Persia/Iran). Many in the Church have taught that the fourth kingdom was Rome, and consequently await a Western European Antichrist, but this is incorrect! Islam has pitted itself against God’s chosen people, claiming for Muslims the promises given to the Jews through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Its self-proclaimed mission is to destroy the Jewish state of Israel and take Jerusalem for the capital of its coming world empire under Al Mahdi who will be revealed by Iran and will fulfill this prophecy. 
John’s descriptions in the book of Revelation seem so almost mythological in the minds of many Christians. Yet in light of Islam, things that were once unintelligible make sense. For example, the icons that are given breath in (Revelation 13:15), are minarets echoing the voice of the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer. Although there is much speculation about the number 666 I deleted my comment about it.

According to the apostle John in his first letter, “the antichrist is the one who denies the Father and the Son.” In fact, Islam is so adamant in denying this Christian doctrine, that inscribed on its Dome of the Rock are the words “God is only One God. Far be it removed from His transcendent majesty that He should have a son.” Not only does Islam deny the Trinity, but also the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, a doctrine they claim was revealed to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. Yet Paul warns the Colossians not to take part in any religion revealed by angels, and to the Galatians he insists that “even if an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” 

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Importance Of Steadfast Faithfulness

Jesus taught in parables and here he explains the parable of the sower to his disciples that they may understand it clearly.

(Matthew 13:18 - 23) “Hear then the parable of the sower. When any one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in his heart; this is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

So often we hear comments from those who deny the veracity of the bible scriptures and who outright deny the divine nature of Christ, they have opted to take the road to perdition. Then there are those who hear the gospel and accept it mentally with great enthusiasm, but have no deep heartfelt response, later it becomes a liability to them in front of their unbelieving peer group and they fall away. Those who receive the word and internalize it deeply and grow fervently in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ will bear fruit and become beacons of light and truth in the darkened world around them, they are approved by God! 
Jesus said, (Matthew 10 - 32) So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven.

(1 Peter 1:16 - 21) For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we heard this voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word made more sure. You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Jesus gives us another parable, the parable of weeds among the wheat which is His answer to willful unbelievers and false prophets. During the early days of the church false prophets arose and continue on in this day and age in which we live.

(Matthew 13: 24 - 30)  Another parable he put before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the householder came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants  said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

There first came Gnosticism a second century heresy claiming that salvation could be gained through secret knowledge. Gnosticism is derived from the Greek word gnosis, meaning "to know.” It is a rather insidious belief for those who refuse to understand the need for repentance and a change of direction when receiving Christ as Lord. Gnostics also believed that the material world (matter) is evil and that only the spirit is good. They constructed an evil God and beings of the Old Testament to explain the creation of the world (matter), and considered Jesus Christ a wholly spiritual God. They implied that since the body is sinful then man can continue living in sin because the soul is saved. (Eat drink and be merry because tomorrow we die and our soul lives on in heaven.) 

Even today we have two major cults knocking on our doors, one of which does not honor the nation in which they live, refuses to acknowledge traditional holidays and celebrations and who denies the divinity of Christ as nothing more than ("a god") and their organization of which they refer to as a prophet or prophesying organization which has already predicted the end of the world several times, giving dates that have come and gone. The scriptures give us a clear understanding of how to recognize and deal with a false prophet. (Deuteronomy  18:22) when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you need not be afraid of him.
The other major cult insinuates that the Second Coming has come and gone and that we can all become gods and have many celestial wives. Agents from both of these well known cults all appear as nice clean-cut refined people who are zealous for God. However James warns us in his letter to the Galatians “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1: 8 -9)

(2 Peter 2:1 -3) But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their licentiousness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words; from of old their condemnation has not been idle, and their destruction has not been asleep.

(2 Peter 2:20 - 22) For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Stephen The First Martyr, Will We Be So Bold?

The church was growing in numbers as the Apostles continued to preach the news of the Messiah and perform great signs and wonders in Jesus name. The leading council of the Jews were becoming infuriated by this new sect and Stephen became the first Jewish-Christian martyr at their hands.

(Acts 6:8 - 15) And Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyre′nians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cili′cia and Asia, arose and disputed with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke. Then they secretly instigated men, who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, and set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place, and will change the customs which Moses delivered to us.” And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
(Acts 7:1) And the high priest said, “Is this so?” 

Rather than defend himself Stephen filled with the Holy Spirit proceeded to recap Jewish history and their infidelity to the will of God, then he lambasted them for their part in the death of The Promised One of Israel. When one reads the account it is difficult not to be filled with admiration for this brave man of God!

( Acts 7:2 - 60) And Stephen said: “Brethren and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopota′mia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Depart from your land and from your kindred and go into the land which I will show you.’ Then he departed from the land of the Chalde′ans, and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living; yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him in possession and to his posterity after him, though he had no child. And God spoke to this effect, that his posterity would be aliens in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and ill-treat them four hundred years. ‘But I will judge the nation which they serve,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.’ And he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.
“And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him, and rescued him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him governor over Egypt and over all his household. Now there came a famine throughout all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction, and our fathers could find no food. But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent forth our fathers the first time. And at the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh. And Joseph sent and called to him Jacob his father and all his kindred, seventy-five souls; and Jacob went down into Egypt. And he died, himself and our fathers, and they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
“But as the time of the promise drew near, which God had granted to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt till there arose over Egypt another king who had not known Joseph. He dealt craftily with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants, that they might not be kept alive. At this time Moses was born, and was beautiful before God. And he was brought up for three months in his father’s house; and when he was exposed, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds.
“When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel. And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking the Egyptian. He supposed that his brethren understood that God was giving them deliverance by his hand, but they did not understand. And on the following day he appeared to them as they were quarreling and would have reconciled them, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren, why do you wrong each other?’ But the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ At this retort Moses fled, and became an exile in the land of Mid′ian, where he became the father of two sons.
“Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush. When Moses saw it he wondered at the sight; and as he drew near to look, the voice of the Lord came, ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and did not dare to look. And the Lord said to him, ‘Take off the shoes from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. I have surely seen the ill-treatment of my people that are in Egypt and heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.’
“This Moses whom they refused, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ God sent as both ruler and deliverer by the hand of the angel that appeared to him in the bush. He led them out, having performed wonders and signs in Egypt and at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years. This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet from your brethren as he raised me up.’ This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living oracles to give to us. Our fathers refused to obey him, but thrust him aside, and in their hearts they turned to Egypt, saying to Aaron, ‘Make for us gods to go before us; as for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ And they made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol and rejoiced in the works of their hands. But God turned and gave them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets:
‘Did you offer to me slain beasts and sacrifices,
forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?
And you took up the tent of Moloch,
and the star of the god Rephan,
the figures which you made to worship;
and I will remove you beyond Babylon.’
“Our fathers had the tent of witness in the wilderness, even as he who spoke to Moses directed him to make it, according to the pattern that he had seen. Our fathers in turn brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations which God thrust out before our fathers. So it was until the days of David, who found favor in the sight of God and asked leave to find a habitation for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built a house for him. Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made with hands; as the prophet says, 
‘Heaven is my throne,
and earth my footstool.
What house will you build for me, says the Lord,
or what is the place of my rest?
Did not my hand make all these things?’
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”
Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth against him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together upon him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And he knelt down and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. 

Will we be so bold in the face of such fierce animosity during the tribulation?

Jesus Foretold Future Events

Jesus gave the apostles an overview of what is to come in Matthew 24 beginning with the destruction of Israel in 70 AD and the scattering of Jews (Diaspora) to the corners of the earth. He talks about all that is to happen over the next 2000 years and then talks about the great tribulation of the church saying that there will be a falling away. Much of that most likely attributable to false teachings.

Jesus foretells the destruction of the temple:
(Matthew 24:1 -31) Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down.”

Things that will come to pass over the next two millennia:
As he 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?” And Jesus answered them, “Take heed that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs.

The Tribulation of the church:
“Then 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.

Antichrist is revealed:
“So when you see the desolating sacrilege spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place, then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house; and let him who is in the field not turn back to take his mantle. And alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. Then if any one says to you, ‘Lo, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Lo, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Lo, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; if they say, ‘Lo, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man. Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.

The Messiah returns in great power and glory:
“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.”

Some years later John who has been preaching the gospel of Christ has been banned to the Isle of Patmos by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. He is visited by the angel of the Lord and given a vision of things to come. This coincides with what Jesus was referring to in Matthew chapter 24.
(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, “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.

The following is the point at which the resurrection occurs followed instantly by the wrath of God against those who refused Christ and followed the Anti-Christ. 

(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?”

(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.”

Jesus clearly alludes to it In Matthew 24 and Mark 13
"For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will be." 

Dispensationalism is a heretical theological system which teaches that bible history is best understood in light of a number of successive administrations of God's dealings with mankind, which it calls “dispensations” something that was never taught throughout the first eighteen centuries since the death and resurrection of Christ. It maintains fundamental distinctions between God's plans for national Israel and for the New Testament Church, with emphasis on end-times prophesy and teaches a pre-tribulation rapture of the church prior to Christ's Second Coming. Its beginnings are usually associated with the Plymouth Brethren movement in the UK and the teachings of John Nelson Darby. It’s interesting that the term rapture is not found anywhere in bible scripture. 

The dispensation theory insinuates that God changes His thinking for the church and somehow loves current day believers more than those of the first several centuries that were sawn in two, eaten by lions, boiled in oil, crucified, beheaded, and burned at the stake for their belief in God and His Christ and that for some obscure reason God wouldn't let today's believers suffer in any way as if they are somehow more loved and special. Anyone reading the Olivet Discourse in either Matthew or Mark in light of that false teaching would be totally confused and unable to understand what Christ is saying in contextual terms. Those espousing the false pre-tribulation teaching will no doubt be ill prepared mentally, spiritually and emotionally for what eventually occurs and will begin to have doubts, their blood will be on the heads of the their teachers. The "Great Tribulation" is a time of extreme persecution, suffering and death that believers endure prior to the Second Coming, it’s already begun as even now Christians and Jews, the people of the book are being slaughtered by the forces of Antichrist in Africa and the Mid-East.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

To The Jews First

The church grew rapidly as the disciples scattered to the four corners of the Roman Empire which comprised the known world while spreading the Gospel (good news) of Christ. It was met with diametric opposition from Caesar who had declared himself to be god and had demanded the worship of his subjects. Those Jews who hadn’t been privy to and had rejected Jesus as the Messiah were equally contentious and a great persecution arose and the new Christians were hunted down and killed by the hundreds. During this time there were four different sects within the Jewish system. There were the Pharisees who believed in life after death and loved to be seen by others as religious and righteous. There were the Sadducees who were non-religious and did not believe in life after death. Then came the Essenes, a cloistered sect of Jewish scholarly types who remained separated from the normal affairs of daily life in Israel and finally there were the Zealots, they were the anarchists of their time who’s desire it was to rid Israel of Roman domination. Judas Iscariot one of the early twelve disciples and the one who betrayed Christ may have been a Zealot. These four factions are still represented today by differing designations in most societies. There was a man named Saul of Tarsus, a member of the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of the Jews, he was a Pharisee and a temple priest who was so incensed by this new Jewish sect of Christ believers that he became the zealous chief overseer of the persecution of Christians in Israel, pulling them from their houses and slaying them in the streets. On the road to Damascus he was struck down and blinded suddenly hearing a voice, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” For the account read: Acts 9: 1-22. 

Following that he became known as the Apostle Paul and was by far the greatest evangelist ever, instrumental in leading untold numbers to a redemptive relationship with Christ. 
Having been a scholar of scripture and former temple priest Paul wrote the following letter to the Hebrews, his fellow Jews as a means of an explanation about all that has passed and to encourage them to receive their Messiah.

(Hebrews 9: 1- 28) Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. For a tent was prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence; it is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain stood a tent called the Holy of Holies, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, which contained a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
These preparations having thus been made, the priests go continually into the outer tent, performing their ritual duties; but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the errors of the people. By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary is not yet opened as long as the outer tent is still standing (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, but deal only with food and drink and various ablutions, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Hence even the first covenant was not ratified without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.” And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own; for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.