Monday, December 24, 2018

For God So Loved The World

Christmas is a time of hope and blessings, a celebration of life and salvation. The Scriptures teach us that children are a blessing from God. It has also been said that the birth of each new child is a sign that God has not yet given up on this world. That was never more true than the night two thousand years ago when the Son of Man was born in Bethlehem; born to bring the hope of salvation and the blessing of eternal life.

During a sermon in 1926, Reverend James Allan Francis summarized the profound impact of life of Jesus Christ:

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village as the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village. He worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty and then for three years was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness.
He had no credentials but himself. He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of his divine manhood. While still a young man the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. Another betrayed him.
He was turned over to his enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon the cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property he had on earth while he was dying, and that was his coat. When he was dead, he was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen centuries have come and gone and today he is the center of the human race and the leader of the column of progress.
I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that were ever built, and all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon the earth as powerfully as has this one solitary life.
No one can predict the headlines in the weeks and months ahead, but we can rest assured that one day every head will bow and every knee will bend before the King of Kings.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Understanding The Mystery Of The Trinity

Most people become perplexed and confused when faced with the biblical concept of the one true God comprising three persons. The reason is that we have finite minds and live in a finite world where everything including our lives has a beginning and an end. We understand only what we experience and know about the natural world around us.

God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  (Genesis 1:26-27)

Consider if you will, for the sake of your own understanding, that the Creator of the universe as we know it, exists in an eternal parallel universe or another dimension outside the constraints of time where there is no yesterday no tomorrow, only an eternal present. We can know from the first chapter in Genesis that the Creator refers to himself as "US" indicating that more than one person is the co-creator of all things. We know that God the father, is the primary person of great magnificence and almighty power that emanates through the will of His Spirit. "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) 
He is also imbued with another persona, the Son. They have always co-existed in a dimension outside of time in an eternal universe. 

The thought that man is created in the image of God may seem overwhelming but it will be helpful in understanding the trinity. It has nothing to do with our appearance being at all anything like God, however it alludes to the fact that we are tripartite beings just as God is. We have a Spirit just as God the Father is Spirit, our spirit comes from God and gives us our innate God consciousness. We have a physical body just as God the son, and we have a soul or ego from which emanates our personality. Three distinct parts in one being that all work together.

God knew beforehand that man would fail Him (sin), He established the penalty of death for mankind's failure. In order for God to rescue His creation by offering Himself to pay the price for all the sins of mankind He would have to leave His eternal place and be born into this dimension governed by time, this is the motive and destiny of His Son, as the sacrifice and payment for the sins of man.
"In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high." (Hebrews 1:1-3)

In human terms it is difficult to contemplate a virgin giving birth, and yet not difficult at all for God who spoke the entire universe and everything in it into existence from nothing willed through His Holy Spirit.

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. (Luke 1:26-35)

Hopefully the foregoing will give us all new insights as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, Christ the Savior who is also known to many Jews as Yeshua the Messiah.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Antichrist

Ever since the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ people down through the ages have wondered who this Antichrist might be. The following refers to the signs of the times and the end of the age: 

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. 
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24: 3-14)

Jesus made it clear to the apostles that there would be many antichrists. Here John says, "Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. 
(1John 2:18-19) 

John is referring to false teachers preaching heresy that abound in every society but he also alludes to a specific person as Antichrist which has left believers open to a lot of curiosity and speculation as to who this individual might be and exactly when they will appear.

History has already shown us one type of the last days antichrist in the person of Antiochus Epiphanes, a Greek tyrant of the 2nd century B.C. He was a vicious enemy of the Jewish people, outlawing Judaism and desecrating the sacred temple with pig blood and setting up idols to be worshipped while considering himself Deus Ad Dominum.
However Jesus made the timing quite clear when he said, "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake." Jesus is referring to The Great Tribulation of the church and of all believers. Here it is referred to again to John on the Isle of Patmos where he was given a look at events that were yet to come.

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 testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.
(Revelation 6:9-11)

Recent news indicates that the murder of Christians and Jews has increased exponentially over the last few years with the advent of the "Arab 
Spring." The predominantly Islamic nations have been raging against those they refer to as "The People Of The Book," referring to those who believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, specifically Jews and Christians. 

By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. (1John 4:2-3) 

Rather than wonder who is the antichrist we need to consider what is the antichrist and recognize that these verses indicate antichrist is a spirit which is manifested in human beings who deny God and His Christ. The god of the Islamic world is a demonic entity of darkness, hatred, death, that disavows the One True God and His son Jesus Christ, whereas the God of Christians and Jews is a God of light, love and life. Here we have clearly identified the Antichrist of the last days that precede the second coming of Jesus Christ. We can conclude that antichrist is an attitude emanating from an evil spirit.

"After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever Amen." Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” and I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:9-14)

There are teachers who insist that believers won't suffer in spite of these scripture verses, and that they will be miraculously raptured out of the way, however this is inconsistent with bible history. One need only ask themselves if believers today are somehow special and more deserving of escaping the sufferings of early Christians who were sawn in two, burned at the stake, eaten by lions, crucified and murdered in droves as they have been down through the ages for their faith.

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers through the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us through His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world (Hebrews 1:1-2) 
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image" (Genesis 1:26)

Time to consider where you stand, with God or the Antichrist? Ask Jesus (Yeshua) who is Co-Creator of the universe with the father to come into your life as Lord and Savior.