Sunday, June 28, 2015

Whether We Honor God Or Man

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling giving same-sex couples the right to marry in all 50 states. Now the citizens of this nation have a dilemma, they either are going to follow God, their conscience and what they truly believe is what the scripture teaches them and honor Him, or they will follow civil law and honor the will of society. However taking note of what St. Augustine said, “an unjust law is no law at all.”

Excerpts from Genesis 18 & 19: The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomor′rah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me; and if not, I will know.” So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom. 
The two angels came to Sodom in the evening; and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed himself with his face to the earth, and said, “My lords, turn aside, I pray you, to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the street.” But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; and they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomor′rah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 

God gave man principles concerning morality (Leviticus 18:22)  You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. (Leviticus 20:13)  If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them.

We shouldn’t expect to delivered by an angel if we suffer the consequences of civil disobedience and failure to honor the dictates of an unjust or patently evil law, nor should we feel obligated to pretend that it is in any way good, not for the sake of maintaining friendships or even in the face of great loss as we are not in any way constrained to be pleasers of men, but instead we are to be pleasers of God in whom we trust just as the three young men in the following story who are shining examples.

We are given an example three young men who refused to obey civil law knowing that it would be wrong in the eyes of God if they did. They refused to obey the decree of the King and bow down to an idol.
(Daniel 3: 8 - 27) Certain Chalde′ans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnez′zar, “O king, live for ever! You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed′nego. These men, O king, pay no heed to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.” Then Nebuchadnez′zar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed′nego be brought. Then they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnez′zar said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed′nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image which I have made, well and good; but if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace; and who is the god that will deliver you out of my hands?”Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed′nego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnez′zar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.”
Then Nebuchadnez′zar was full of fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed′nego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was wont to be heated. And he ordered certain mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed′nego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their mantles, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were cast into the burning fiery furnace. Because the king’s order was strict and the furnace very hot, the flame of the fire slew those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed′nego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed′nego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.
Then King Nebuchadnez′zar was astonished and rose up in haste. He said to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered the king, “True, O king.” He answered, “But I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
Then Nebuchadnez′zar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace and said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed′nego, servants of the Most High God, come forth, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed′nego came out from the fire. And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men; the hair of their heads was not singed, their mantles were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. 

This is a great example of total commitment, we are either committed to God or to man, there is no middle ground!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

God Uses Little People And Unconventional Means

There come those moments in our lives when we take stock of what we have accomplished that will have any lasting significance and often times it can become a rather depressing exercise. Usually everything we have striven for has been with ourselves in mind and often times that is the crux of our problem. God can use those who are willing to work out His plan for mankind. Often times the person He uses is simply a sinner with a repentant heart.

Moses had slain one of Pharaoh’s men who had been abusing the Hebrews and he buried him in the desert sand, but knowing it was wrong he ran away and hid for a time, sorrowful for what he had done. God called out to him knowing that he had a heart for the Hebrews and gave him powers to do mighty signs and wonders whereupon he led the Hebrew nation to freedom.

Paul formerly known as Saul of Tarsus was a Pharisee and a temple priest. He became incensed over how his fellow Jews were suddenly following this new Christian sect and sought to put an end to what he considered apostasy pulling new Christian believers out of their homes and murdering them in the streets. But God knowing that Paul had a heart for God and was doing what he thought was the righteous thing to do to protect the Jews, struck him blind one day on the road to Damascus and Paul later became one of the greatest Christian preachers of all time. So we see here that God was able to use two people who had essentially become murderers, turning their lives around and using them for His glory.

The authors of the four gospels were just every day people. Matthew was a tax collector and Mark is believed to be a young man who later traveled with Paul. Luke was a physician and a man of letters, and John a Greek speaking Christian who may have lived in a mostly Gnostic community during the second century. 

This is a story of magnificent courage and of how Esther saved the Jewish people from certain annihilation.
Esther was a beautiful young Jewish woman, an orphan who had been adopted by Mordecai and his wife, as their own daughter. She had become a member of the Persian King’s harem during the Babylonian captivity of the Hebrew nation. Queen Vashti had insulted the King in front of many dignitaries, satraps and nobles, so she fell into disfavor and he sought a new queen from a number of his concubines.
When it was Esther’s turn to go before the king, she asked for nothing except what the king’s eunuch, who had charge of the women, advised. Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her. And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus into his royal palace the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.”

Meanwhile while sitting at the gate, Mordecai had overheard two men conspiring to harm the king and he reported it to Queen Esther who in turn imparted it to the King who had both men hanged. Now there was a man named Haman who was a rather despicable character that the King had elevated to high office and he hated Mordecai who continually refused to bow down to him so he conspired to have Mordecai hanged and the Jews who he also hated killed. Mordecai, who was Esther’s adoptive father apprised Esther of what was about to happen and along with the other Jews requested that she speak to the king on their behalf. She was fearful as the king was unapproachable without being officially summoned to see him. She said, “all the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman went to the king inside the inner court without being called, there was but one law; all alike would be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter that he may live. And I have not been called to come in to the king these last thirty days.” Then Esther asked Mordecai to gather all the Jews in Susa, and hold a fast and pray on her behalf. Afterward Esther approached the King and mercifully he held out the golden scepter to her as she found favor with him. She then proceeded to request that he and Haman come to a dinner she would prepare in a few nights. Later while unable to sleep the king was thinking of Mordecai and how he had exposed the plot against him, he decided that this man should be rewarded. Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king’s palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for him. So the king’s servants told him Haman was standing in the court and the king said, “Let him come in.” So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What shall be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?” And Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” And Haman suggested some great honors to be bestowed, then to Haman’s dismay the king said to Haman, “Make haste, take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Modecai leaving out nothing that you have mentioned.” So Haman took the robes and the horse, and he arrayed Mordecai and made him ride through the open square of the city, proclaiming, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.”
Then Mordecai returned to the king’s gate while Haman hurried to his house, humiliated and mourning with his head covered. 

So the following day the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther, and as they were drinking wine the king again said to Esther, “What is your petition Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even if it’s half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have held my peace; for our affliction is not to be compared with the loss to the king.” Then King Ahasuerue said to Queen Esther, “Who is he and where is he who would presume to do this?” And Esther said, “A foe and enemy, this wicked Haman!” So they hanged Haman on the gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai. And the King put Mordecai over all of Haman’s house and fortunes and authorized the Jews to slay all of their enemies in his kingdom and all who had sought to destroy them.

Thus God elevated a young orphan woman of no particular means, a concubine and Hebrew captive of the Babylonian Empire to do His will and save Israel from certain destruction.  

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Real Meaning Of Meek

We often think of meekness as meaning someone who is a real “Marvin Milktoast” one lacking a spine, this is not at all what meek means! The inside horse pulling a buggy around an oval track has to refrain from racing at the same speed as the outside horse and maintain a slower pace that complements the other animal, he is referred to as the meek horse because he is trusted to control any impulse to run faster and upset the buggy. 
This brings to mind the story of Abigail and of how she became the wife of David the future King of Israel. David and his band of men had been fighting the enemies of Israel and protecting the Israeli people who lived in the countryside. He had received great admiration and support for he and his men from all who had heard of his daring exploits and victories. Hearing that a wealthy man named Nabal was not far off he sent a group of men to greet Nabal and request his support. Nabal was an ill tempered man and thus refused, and disavowed any knowledge of David in spite of how David and his men had protected Nabal’s shepherds and flocks from the enemy.

David was incensed by this man’s insulting demeanor, so he and his men armed themselves and prepared to pay Nabal a less than friendly visit. When Abigail, Nabal’s beautiful wife heard how her husband had treated David’s emissaries so poorly, she secretly went to David bringing him a feast and provisions and apologized profusely for her husband’s nasty behavior. David was pleased knowing that the Lord had prompted Abigail to action which had saved him from having to bring harm to Nabal and his men.
Later while relating to her drunken husband how she had made amends for his bad behavior, the man had a heart attack and died within a few days. When David got news of Nabal’s death he assumed that it was the will of God and sent his messengers to get Abigail as he intended to make her his bride. Abigail’s behavior and attitude towards David and his men after the obnoxious, insulting behavior of her husband provides us with a perfect example of what meekness is and how a meek person brings forth harmony from what might have been discord..

(1 Samuel 25: 1 -42)  Now Samuel died; and all Israel assembled and mourned for him, and they buried him in his house at Ramah. 
Then David rose and went down to the wilderness of Paran. And there was a man in Ma′on, whose business was in Carmel. The man was very rich; he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. He was shearing his sheep in Carmel. Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Ab′igail. The woman was of good understanding and beautiful, but the man was churlish and ill-behaved; he was a Calebite. David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep. So David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name. And thus you shall salute him: ‘Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. I hear that you have shearers; now your shepherds have been with us, and we did them no harm, and they missed nothing, all the time they were in Carmel. Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes; for we come on a feast day. Pray, give whatever you have at hand to your servants and to your son David.’”
When David’s young men came, they said all this to Nabal in the name of David; and then they waited. And Nabal answered David’s servants, “Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants nowadays who are breaking away from their masters. Shall I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers, and give it to men who come from I do not know where?” So David’s young men turned away, and came back and told him all this. And David said to his men, “Every man gird on his sword!” And every man of them girded on his sword; David also girded on his sword; and about four hundred men went up after David, while two hundred remained with the baggage.
But one of the young men told Ab′igail, Nabal’s wife, “Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he railed at them. Yet the men were very good to us, and we suffered no harm, and we did not miss anything when we were in the fields, as long as we went with them; they were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. Now therefore know this and consider what you should do; for evil is determined against our master and against all his house, and he is so ill-natured that one cannot speak to him.”
Then Ab′igail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two skins of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched grain, and a hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses. And she said to her young men, “Go on before me; behold, I come after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. And as she rode on the ass, and came down under cover of the mountain, behold, David and his men came down toward her; and she met them. Now David had said, “Surely in vain have I guarded all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him; and he has returned me evil for good. God do so to David and more also, if by morning I leave so much as one male of all who belong to him.”
When Ab′igail saw David, she made haste, and alighted from the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed to the ground. She fell at his feet and said, “Upon me alone, my lord, be the guilt; pray let your handmaid speak in your ears, and hear the words of your handmaid. Let not my lord regard this ill-natured fellow, Nabal; for as his name is, so is he; Nabal  is his name, and folly is with him; but I your handmaid did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent. Now then, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, seeing the Lord has restrained you from bloodguilt, and from taking vengeance with your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek to do evil to my lord be as Nabal. And now let this present which your servant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who follow my lord. Pray forgive the trespass of your handmaid; for the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the Lord; and evil shall not be found in you so long as you live. If men rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living in the care of the Lord your God; and the lives of your enemies he shall sling out as from the hollow of a sling. And when the Lord has done to my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you prince over Israel, my lord shall have no cause of grief, or pangs of conscience, for having shed blood without cause or for my lord taking vengeance himself. And when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your handmaid.”
And David said to Ab′igail, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from avenging myself with my own hand! For as surely as the Lord the God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had made haste and come to meet me, truly by morning there had not been left to Nabal so much as one male.” Then David received from her hand what she had brought him; and he said to her, “Go up in peace to your house; see, I have hearkened to your voice, and I have granted your petition.”
And Ab′igail came to Nabal; and lo, he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk; so she told him nothing at all until the morning light. And in the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. And about ten days later the Lord smote Nabal; and he died.

When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be the Lord who has avenged the insult I received at the hand of Nabal, and has kept back his servant from evil; the Lord has returned the evil-doing of Nabal upon his own head.” Then David sent and wooed Ab′igail, to make her his wife. And when the servants of David came to Ab′igail at Carmel, they said to her, “David has sent us to you to take you to him as his wife.” And she rose and bowed with her face to the ground, and said, “Behold, your handmaid is a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.” And Ab′igail made haste and rose and mounted on an ass, and her five maidens attended her; she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Daughter Of Babylon?

We recall now a time in ancient bible history, (Genesis 11: 1 -9) Now the whole earth had one language and few words. And as men migrated from the East, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused  the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

This was the ancient forerunner and earlier picture of the fabulously wealthy Babylonian Empire that ruled over the nations of the known world with members from every nation and tribe united under one language and King. The Babylonians had plundered Israel and took it’s people into captivity for a number of years. Eventually the Jews returned to their own land and Babylon was destroyed. (Jeremiah 50: 35 - 36) “A sword upon the Chalde′ans, says the Lord, and upon the inhabitants of Babylon, and upon her princes and her wise men! A sword upon the diviners, that they may become fools! A sword upon her warriors, that they may be destroyed!

Two hundred years ago, scholars doubted whether Babylon ever existed. The only record could be found in the Bible. Critics used the story of Babylon, and what they called its "non-historic kings," to discount Scripture. However, Babylon was discovered and excavated in 1898.
We know today that Babylon was one of the first cities in the world, and founded by Nimrod, great-grandson of Noah (Genesis 10:9-10). Archaeologists have found his name on many inscriptions and tablets, while a massive head of Nimrod has been excavated near Calah on the Tigris River.

The Bible tells the story of the tower of Babel and how the language of mankind was confused there. Archaeologists have found that the inhabitants of ancient Mesopotamia had a popular habit of building towers called ziggurats. Almost every city of importance had at least one.
The Tower of Babylon was the highest and largest of all, being 91 meters high and built in seven stages. The foundations and a few steps of the stairway may still be seen today. This was the most probable location of the Tower of Babel.
For 1400 years, the city of Babylon grew in importance. In 626 BC, it became the capital of the Babylonian empire. Babylon reached its peak in the time of Nebuchadnezzar II, becoming the wonder of the ancient world. It was 18 kilometers in circumference, with 26-meter-wide double walls towering 62 meters high. It was a magnificent sight, the famous Hanging Gardens were one of the seven wonders of the world. We know today that ancient Babylon was a center of advanced science, art, culture, and industry. Then appeared upon the scene the Hebrew prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah who predicted her utter destruction. "And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah" (Isaiah 13:19).
"And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwelling-place for dragons, and astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant" (Jeremiah 51:37). These amazing prophecies are all the more astounding because Babylon was located at the very center of economic trade routes of that time. Destruction of a city might have been plausible, but that it would never be rebuilt to be inhabited again seemed far-fetched. This prophetic claim has been tested over the ages, yet the prophecy stands to this very day.
Babylon was extremely wealthy. Jeremiah predicted that these treasures would be robbed, and that all who robbed her would be satisfied (Jeremiah 50:10). To read this history is to read the fulfillment of the prophecy. Cyrus the Median took treasures, Xerxes the Persian took huge amounts of gold, and Alexander of Greece plundered what was left, fulfilling these prophecies to the letter.

(Jeremiah 51:33) For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel:
The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time when it is trodden;
yet a little while and the time of her harvest will come.”

So then the question remains, who is the daughter of Babylon?
This is an obvious allusion to a nation in later times much like that of the former great Babylonian Empire with inhabitants from every nation, tongue and tribe on earth united under one government and one language. There is only one nation under God that comes to mind that fits the description.

Will this be a nuclear holocaust?
(Revelation 18: 1 - 10) After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority; and the earth was made bright with his splendor. And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! It has become a dwelling place of demons, a haunt of every foul spirit, a haunt of every foul and hateful bird; For all nations have drunk the wine of her impure passion, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich with the wealth of her wantonness.” Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her as she herself has rendered, and repay her double for her deeds;
mix a double draught for her in the cup she mixed. As she glorified herself and played the wanton, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning. Since in her heart she says, ‘A queen I sit, I am no widow, mourning I shall never see,’ so shall her plagues come in a single day, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she shall be burned with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.” 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. (15, 17- 18 ) The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud, In one hour all this wealth has been laid waste.” And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning.

Friday, June 12, 2015

End Time Prophecies Being Fulfilled

In order to clarify the reference to “End Times” it is not about the end of the world, it is concerning the end of the world system as we know it and mankind’s rule over the earth.

Christ’s disciples asked him when it would be and he indicated that first the current temple would be destroyed following it’s desecration, not one stone would be left on another. (Matthew 24) This occurred in 70AD when Antiochus Epiphanes invaded Israel setting up idols to a false god in the temple, the Jewish people were scattered to the four corners of the earth (Diaspora) the nation of Israel ceased to formerly exist. And so it was for two thousand years until God put it in the hearts of the remnant following great persecution and the Holocaust to return to their historic homeland and reconvene as a nation once more

The Lord speaks through Ezekiel and reveals His intent in chapter 36. “But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people Israel; for they will soon come home. For behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown; and I will multiply men upon you, the whole house of Israel, all of it; the cities shall be inhabited and the waste places rebuilt; and I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited as in your former times, and will do more good to you than ever before. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

Ezekiel is then given a allegorical vision concerning the rebirth of Israel in chapter 37. The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me round among them; and behold, there were very many upon the valley; and lo, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, thou knowest.” Again he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And as I looked, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great host.
Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you home into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I have done it, says the Lord.”

During times of stress in the new nation the temple will be rebuilt in the hotly contested city of Jerusalem. The following videos give credence to the nearness of that event:

Then the unfolding of Christ’s prophetic words from (Matthew 24: 15 -22) “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. 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 finally the return of the Messiah Jesus Christ to fulfill the second half of the prophecy of (Isaiah 66: 15 -16 ) “For behold, the Lord will come in fire, and his chariots like the stormwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire will the Lord execute judgment, and by his sword, upon all flesh; and those slain by the Lord shall be many.

(22 - 24) “For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before me, says the Lord; so shall your descendants and your name remain. From new moon to new moon, and from sabbath to sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, says the Lord. “And they shall go forth and look on the dead bodies of the men that have rebelled against me; for their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

You Shall Not Kill?

Of all of the ten commandments that God gave to Moses on the mountain the sixth commandment was changed from the original Hebrew text “You shall not murder” to you shall not kill in the KJV. The Jewish sages note that the word “ratsakh” applies only to illegal killing, premeditated murder or manslaughter referencing back to Cain’s murder of Able and is never used in the administration of justice or for killing in war. Hence the KJV translation as “thou shalt not kill” is too broad and incorrectly translated from the original Hebrew. Pacifists love to cite the King James version because it gives them comfort in not feeling obligated to defend themselves, their country or others in time of need. The New King James Version has rightly changed it back to the original intent translating it properly as “You shall not murder!”

Once beyond the desert on the far side of the Jordan River Joshua was leading the Hebrew Nation, they commenced slaughtering all of the nations that inhabited the land there. 
(Joshua 10: 40)  “So Joshua defeated the whole land, the hill country and the Negeb and the lowland and the slopes, and all their kings; he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded.” 

If we were to read the sixth commandment in the context of the King James Version “Thou shall not kill” we would immediately assume that God has a double standard concerning the taking of another person’s life however that is not the case as God is not the author of confusion. 

Another well known example of justifiable killing occurred during the reign of King Saul. The Israelites were engaged in a war with the Philistines on whose side was a fearsome giant warrior named Goliath who was the champion of the Philistines and who taunted Saul and his army for many days. David a young shepherd boy, the youngest son of Jesse came forth and was so incensed by the rantings of Goliath that he took up the giant’s challenge.

(1 Samuel 17: 48 - 54) “When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone, and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.
So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine, and killed him; there was no sword in the hand of David. Then David ran and stood over the Philistine, and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath, and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron, so that the wounded Philistines fell on the way from Sha-ara′im as far as Gath and Ekron. And the Israelites came back from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their camp. And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armor in his tent.”
(David went on to kill tens of thousands of the enemies of Israel with God’s approval and became king of Israel enjoying a long reign.)

The reason for citing these two of the many biblical references to justifiable killings is to dispel the notion that many have concerning the true meaning of the sixth commandment, “you shall not murder” as opposed to the King James version of “you shall not kill,” as there is a world of difference in the meaning between the two statements. The following is an extreme example of misguided interpretation of the commandment: If some miscreant suddenly broke into a man’s house, slit the throats of his children then raped and murdered the man’s wife before his eyes and the homeowner refused to take action citing the perverse notion that he was constrained by scripture from killing the miscreant he would then become morally and spiritually culpable for abdicating his obligation as head of his household to protect his family.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Significance Of "Sodom And Egypt" In Revelation

Sodom and Egypt are referred to in the same passage concerning the death of the two witnesses of (Revelation 11: 7 - 8) “And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends from the bottomless pit will make war upon them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which is allegorically called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified.” 

The reference to Sodom in this particular passage of scripture is to a time of extreme moral filth and corruption preceding the second coming of Christ, this time as the Lion of the tribe of Judah to exact his judgment and destruction of the current world system. Excerpts from Genesis (13:13) Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord. (18:20) Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomor′rah is great and their sin is very grave. (19: 24 - 25) Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomor′rah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 

The reference to Egypt is indicative of crushing oppression much like that which the Hebrews suffered under Pharaoh only this time brought about by the Antichrist. Although the entire world will be under his oppressive control, the end game stage is set in Israel and Jerusalem will become the focal point of Christ’s return. Is it all that surprising that a nation which was scattered from this place across the face of the earth has reconvened here again two thousand years later? It is an essential element of God’s plan!

(Exodus 1: 8 - 14) Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war befall us, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens; and they built for Pharaoh store-cities, Pithom and Ra-am′ses. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. So they made the people of Israel serve with rigor, and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field; in all their work they made them serve with rigor. (12: 40-41) The time that the people of Israel dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, on that very day, all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.

When the economy falters in one geographic area it is normal human behavior to seek opportunity where basic human needs can be met. Abraham Maslow was a psychologist who developed a pyramiding hierarchy of human needs that begins with the most basic and rudimentary, i.e. food, water, shelter, security which is foundational and then moving upwards to higher things once basic needs are satisfied. At the very pinnacle and by far the highest aspiration is truth. This becomes meaningful when we consider the reason the pyramids were constructed in ancient Egypt so long ago. As archeologists have examined the contents they discovered the mummified remains of the Pharaoh’s and their wives along with containers of dried foods, weapons, gold, significant of the many things that they had found essential to their lives. 

In the following statement Jesus turned the pyramid upside down and says that He is the epitome of truth, the co-author of life, and the only means of access to God the Father.
(John 14:6) Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”

Although most people have no understanding of the significance of the Star of David with it’s two pyramids one inverted over the other, some take it as occultic symbolism, it does become strikingly meaningful to any believer when taken in proper context making truth the foundation beginning with revering God Almighty as all of the needs of man flow from Him through Jesus Christ.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Measure Of A Man

The 1960’s signaled the onset of the emasculation of Western Society with the advent of effeminate male musical groups and the women’s liberation movement exacerbated by a drug culture, liberalism and civil disobedience, the fallout resulting in widespread destruction of the family unit. It’s no secret that we are living in evil times, men wanting to become women and women men among other abominations promoted by media, the tacit promotors of political correctness and group-think. 

And although I myself am not entirely without fault I will present one of several great examples of the kind of man that most men would do well to emulate in today’s world. 

(Genesis 37: 2 - 4) Joseph, being seventeen years old, was shepherding the flock with his brothers; he was a lad with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought an ill report of them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a long robe with sleeves. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him. 

Later his brothers conspired to be rid of Joseph, they stripped him of his robe and threw him into a pit. This may be viewed as a repeat of Cain and Able, Joseph’s brothers evil behavior began as envy which morphed into hatred and turned into malevolence against him as they had intended to kill him.

(Genesis 37: 25 - 28) Then they sat down to eat; and looking up they saw a caravan of Ish′maelites coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing gum, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry it down to Egypt. Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ish′maelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers heeded him. Then Mid′ianite traders passed by; and they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ish′maelites for twenty shekels of silver; and they took Joseph to Egypt.

(Genesis 39: 1 - 4) Now Joseph was taken down to Egypt, and Pot′i-phar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ish′maelites who had brought him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian, and his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. 

Joseph managed to maintain an excellent attitude in spite of his predicament which in turn paid him great dividends. However Potiphar’s wife who tempted him continuously with her sexual wiles would be difficult for most men to resist, where today an opportunity to satisfy male sexual appetites generally takes precedence over everything and common sense becomes fleeting.

(Genesis 39: 6 - 19) Now Joseph was handsome and good-looking. And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph, and said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Lo, having me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my hand; he is not greater in this house than I am; nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife; how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” And although she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie with her or to be with her. But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and got out of the house. And when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and had fled out of the house, she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to insult us; he came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice; and when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment with me, and fled and got out of the house.” Then she laid up his garment by her until his master came home, and she told him the same story, saying, “The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to insult me; but as soon as I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment with me, and fled out of the house.”
When his master heard the words which his wife spoke to him, “This is the way your servant treated me,” his anger was kindled. And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. 

The Pharaoh’s chief butler and chief baker were also both put in prison for infractions during which time they both had dreams and both men’s dreams were interpreted by Joseph, what he told them came to pass exactly as he had said. Two years later Pharaoh had a disturbing dream and the chief Butler told Pharaoh of how Joseph was able to interpret dreams. He sent for Joseph who interpreted Pharaoh’s dream predicting seven good years and seven years of famine. 

(Genesis 41: 38 - 44) And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a man as this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discreet and wise as you are; you shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command; only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Behold, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in garments of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; and he made him to ride in his second chariot; and they cried before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. Moreover Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”

Unlike most people today, Joseph took his imprisonment in stride without complaining or becoming embittered by the experience because he had great trust in God and knew that there was a greater purpose for him being there and that somehow he would be vindicated. This is the power of faith in action, may God help us all get a grasp on the strength of that kind of faith and internalize it in our own lives. I believe that we all have a higher purpose for our lives often times it’s a matter of making the right choices rather than taking the easy road.

(Genesis 41:56 - 57) So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.

(Genesis 42: 1 - 8) When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?” And he said, “Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live, and not die.” So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with his brothers, for he feared that harm might befall him. Thus the sons of Israel came to buy among the others who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan. Now Joseph was governor over the land; he it was who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came, and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground. Joseph saw his brothers, and knew them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke roughly to them. “Where do you come from?” he said. They said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.” Thus Joseph knew his brothers, but they did not know him. 

Joseph insisted that they go and get their youngest brother and and present him before him and he would give them the grain. 

(Genesis 42: 21 - 25) Then they said to one another, “In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he besought us and we would not listen; therefore is this distress come upon us.” And Reuben answered them, “Did I not tell you not to sin against the lad? But you would not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood.” They did not know that Joseph understood them, for there was an interpreter between them. Then he turned away from them and wept; and he returned to them and spoke to them. And he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes. And Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, and to replace every man’s money in his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. This was done for them.

They were dismayed to find the money in their sacks when they returned to Canaan and related what has happened to their father and how the Pharaoh’s man had required them to bring back their youngest brother. 

(Genesis 43: 11 - 15) Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry down to the man a present, a little balm and a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds. Take double the money with you; carry back with you the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks; perhaps it was an oversight. Take also your brother, and arise, go again to the man; may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, that he may send back your other brother and Benjamin. If I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.” So the men took the present, and they took double the money with them, and Benjamin; and they arose and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.

Joseph took advantage of the brother’s ignorance of who he really was and terrified them with the things that followed until finally he could stand it no longer and revealed himself to them. Here is an example of greatness in his ability to forgive them for selling him into slavery so many years ago and to understand that there was a higher reason for all that had happened. If only we all could have such insight, such character and fine qualities as Joseph.

(Genesis 45: 1 - 7) Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him; and he cried, “Make every one go out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph; is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, I pray you.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Fruits Of The Spirit

According to (Luke 6: 43 - 45) Jesus said: “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. 

We have all known people that fit both descriptions some are praiseworthy and the latter are appalling and often difficult to be around. When the Lord talks about fruit He is referring to that which comes from the spirit within a person, those who have a good spirit are known by the fruits that they bear Paul spoke of this in his letter to the Galatians (Galatians 5: 22 - 23) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. 

You will note that in the scripture that “Spirit” is capitalized which refers to the Spirit of God and the fruits are those which He has placed within us and often begins at the first moment when we acknowledge the ultimate authority of God over our lives. What He has instilled in us flows outwardly as we mature in the grace and knowledge of God and deal with whatever former folly existed in our lives. You will note that the fruits are listed in an ascending order, all are initiated as an outflow of love while self-control is listed last and is most difficult to achieve outside of acknowledging the lordship of God in Christ at some point in one’s life. Some people come to that place through their participation in church, others through a recovery organization as they are modeled after biblical principles whereby there is acknowledgment of sinful failures, repentance by making amends to those who were offended, and a call on a Higher Power requesting God’s help. 

I know a wonderful person who is a prime example, she manifested all of the fruits of the Spirit and passed on recently leaving behind a trail of loving memories of who she is. There are two kinds of people, there are givers and there are takers, this fine lady was a giver and gave up much for the sake of others. I prefer to use the present tense when referring to her because I know for certain that she continues to live on in the presence of God and of His Christ. I am confident in saying that because the following scriptures make it clear that being a member of any church or religious organization, though helpful, are not God’s criteria for salvation, but the following verses tell us what is: (Romans 10:13)  For, “every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” (1 John 5: 13) These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.