1 John 5:21 “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.”
Galatians 4:9-11: “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”
Hosea 4:6&7: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.”
Deuteronomy 12:30 (NIV) “…and after they have been destroyed before you, be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, “How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.”
Christmas is a thoroughly pagan holiday — in its origin, in its trappings, and in all its traditions. Perhaps we should contemplate the words of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, delivered in a Lord’s Day sermon on December 24, 1871:
“We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English; and secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Saviour; and consequently, its observance is a superstition, because [it's] not of divine authority. Superstition has fixed most positively the day of our Saviour’s birth, although there is no possibility of discovering when it occurred. …
“It was not till the middle of the third century that any part of the church celebrated the nativity of our Lord; and it was not till very long after the Western church had set the example, that the Eastern adopted it. Because the day is not known, therefore superstition has fixed it; … Where is the method in the madness of the superstitious? Probably the fact is that the holy days were arranged to fit in with the heathen festivals. … We venture to assert that if there be any day in the year of which we may be pretty sure that it was not the day on which the Saviour was born, it is the twenty-fifth of December. … regarding not the day, let us, nevertheless, give God thanks for the gift of His dear Son.”
And from Dr. H.A. Ironside’s Lectures on the Book of Revelation (1920: p. 301):
“It is a lamentable fact that Babylon’s principles and practices are rapidly but surely pervading the churches that escaped from Rome at the time of the Reformation. We may see evidences of it in the wide use of high-sounding ecclesiastical titles, once unknown in the reformed churches, in the revival of holy days and church feasts such as Lent, Good Friday, Easter, and Christ’s Mass, or, as it is generally written, Christmas. … some of these festivals … when they are turned into church festivals, they certainly come under the condemnation of Galatians 4:9-11, where the Holy Spirit warns against the observance of days and months and times and seasons. All of them, and many more that might be added, are Babylonish in their origin, and were at one time linked with the Ashtoreth and Tammuz mystery-worship. It is through Rome that they have come down to us; and we do well to remember that Babylon is a mother, with daughters who are likely to partake of their mother’s characteristics …”
And, finally, from Alexander Hislop’s 1916 classic, The Two Babylons:
On the Papal Worship: “Upright men strove to stem the tide, but in spite of all their efforts, the apostasy went on, till the Church, with the exception of a small remnant, was submerged under Pagan superstition. That Christmas is a Pagan festival is beyond all doubt. The time of the year and the ceremonies with which it is still celebrated, prove its origin.”
*A rose by any other name is still a rose and the same can be said of a god-call that baby in the manger “Jesus” all you want but it is still Tammuz in God’s sight. You give honor to another god if you celebrate this X Mass. Its not what you believe in your heart that you are doing, its what God says you are doing. Please reconsider this celebration. God bless you as you do.
Rick Warren says the moon god of islam is the same God of Judaism and Christianity. That makes him a false teacher and heretic.
“Who knew that Rick Warren and Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) were this close?” Spencer wrote. “Did they sing a few choruses of Cat’s nasheed that contains the lines, ‘I’m praying to Allah to give us victory over the kuffar?’”
Spencer said he was not surprised, however, noting Warren previously has addressed the convention of the Hamas- and Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamic Society of North America.
Warren, Spencer said, also “apologized to Muslims, but wasn’t sure what for” and now “he is palling around with Mr. Peace Train” in the name of “dialogue” and “interfaith outreach.”
Spencer quoted from a 1989 New York Times report of Stevens’ response when asked about attending a demonstration to burn an effigy of Rushdie: “I would have hoped that it’d be the real thing.”
(there are many links in above article pointing out some of Warren’s exploits)
Not that any Christmas worshipers will listen and take heed but for those who truly love the Lord and want to be pleasing in all things in His sight I post this:
Please DO NOT click the LIKE icon unless you have listened to, and agreed with, the main idea of the video. You only look like you are double-minded when you click LIKE on my anti-X Mass posts.
I’m pretty sure I’ve fallen for some of this movement’s
rhetoric demagoguery concerning politics. I’m certain there are a few posts on my blog to verify that I have. I was in a Tea Party Forum and was noticing alot of this belief by those who identified themselves as Christians. I’ve always had a problem with Alex Jones types who rarely let their listeners and/or readers know that God is ultimately in control and not a bunch of power hungry elites that attend the Bohemian Grove meetings. Not that its any of my business, but I have wondered if any of these Christian Patriots do the gritty spiritual warfare of praying for our nation’s political leaders with as much fervor as they have in demonizing them. Anyway, this Christian Patriot Movement was news to me so I figured that I should pass it along so we, by God’s grace, may be careful and discerning especially in the heated political climate of our nation today.
By Don Koenig
There has been a great sucking sound coming from some people who say they are Christians. The sound is that of their brains being sucked out of their heads and then being replaced with the hot air of illogical rhetoric. The brain suckers are those that are making a living on the fears of those who correctly see we are near the last days but have little faith in God. Christian patriots are led to think that they are going to fight the Beast of Revelation from the backwoods of America.
There are many Internet sites and talk radio programs that are proclaiming that the “illuminated ones” are about to bring in their secret plan to set up a world government and bring in the Antichrist. The leadership of this movement identify themselves as Christians but some of what they are teaching Christians is clearly Satanic. Those that get sucked into this movement are just as much controlled by Satan as are the one-world socialists that they oppose.
The philosophy of the Christian patriot movement is that there are a few powerful occult families that are so powerful that they run the affairs of the whole world. They believe these satanic “illuminated ones” decide who will become the leaders of the world and all top levels of government. There may be some truth in this belief but what they fail to realized is that God is in ultimate control of the world and all governments. The illuminated ones they speak of are not men but are fallen spirits who possess and influence powerful men. The “Beast” world government controlled by the man of sin will not and cannot come until God allows it. This will not happen until the mid-point of the time known as the seven-year tribulation. This world government called the Beast and that is led by the Beast cannot occur until the restraining influence of true Christians within governments are removed.
Many in the Christian patriot movement state that Christians need to prepare to protect themselves with arms for the coming tribulation that is already underway or about to immediately take place (many of these obviously hold an erroneous post tribulation rapture of the Church theology). The Christian Identity cult is at the root of this deception. I will not discuss the neo-Nazi replacement theology that Christian Identity teaches in this article. I will just say, the core evil doctrine the Christian Identity cult embraces would be quite obvious to any real Christian. Nevertheless, many Christian patriots now accept, practice, and believe some of the evil lying doctrine that originated in the Christian Identity cult. Some of the evils Christian patriots have embraced are listed below.
Much of the Christian patriot movement disrespects government leaders and authority that scripture says were put there by God. We are told to pray for our leaders, we are not to make railing accusations
- Christian patriots are told to arm themselves and to be prepared to fight the new world order while scripture says that we are to be peaceful and willing to go like sheep to the slaughter
- Christian patriots are told that they are not required to pay their taxes but scripture tells us we are to support the government put over us as the government requires.
- Christian patriots believe it is in God’s will to isolate themselves instead of being a light to the world
- Christians patriots slander, speak hearsay as truth and create a self perpetuating cycle of half truths and lies
- Christian patriots are taught self-reliance instead of relying on God
- Some Christian patriots have allowed themselves to be led by bigoted white supremacists
- Many Christian patriots think that the U.S. is the Promised Land. They believe the lie that they are descendants of the 10 lost tribes of Israel. They then apply to themselves scripture that is meant for the true descendants of Israel
- Many Christian patriots believe that the U.S. is the promised kingdom on earth. Thus, they might end up fighting for a world order led by America and Europe that will actually bring the Antichrist to power.
- Many people in the Christian patriot movement do not take part in any real orthodox Christian worship or fellowship and have little Bible scholarship. They tend to use passages in the Old Testament and apply them out of proper context to themselves but they conveniently overlook the more relevant messages of the New Testament
- Many Christian patriots accept false prophets if what they say is in agreement with their conspiracy theories. It does not even seem to matter to them that the prophecies do not come to pass. For example, their “prophets” had been saying that their would be a UN led invasion of the United States before the year 2000. Nothing like this can possibly happen unless we have civil war in the United States and actually plead for foreign troops to help restore order.
Read more here: http://www.thepropheticyears.com/cults/new%20world%20order.HTM
by Joe Garnett
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it .He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. Romans 14:5-6
Proponents of Christmas often appeal to these verses to defend their celebration of this pagan holy day. At first glance this scripture appears to support their position. But the Bible student should look closer, determining the context and whether this passage can have application to the syncretistic festival of Christmas.
Most commentators teach that Romans 14 deals with Christian liberty. It does, by way of interpretation, only narrowly. By way of interpretation merely two problems are covered, that of whether or not to eat certain meats and whether or not to observe certain days. With regard to Christmas, it is needful that we deal only with the observing of days.
The disputes in this passage take place not because there are simply differences of opinions. The disputes arise because some in the church are weak (immature) and others are strong (mature). This is important to keep in mind because in time one should expect the problem to be solved by the immature becoming mature. (Of course we understand that there might be others coming into the church continually with the same problem, thus protracting the dilemma for some time).
The goal of Biblical instruction is to make the saint a mature person in Jesus Christ (Col. 1:28). Thus in regard to this passage, we need to understand that if all the believers in the church had reached a certain degree of maturity, the problem would not have existed. The solution that Paul gives should be considered a temporary solution for these weak brothers and not a permanent one. (No one would disagree that Christians should always respect and love each other). We should expect these who are now weak to one day become strong as they reside under proper instruction.
The specific problem in verses 5-6a concerns the keeping of days. It appears that the majority of commentators understand the problem to arise from young Jewish converts to the Christian faith. These converts feel obligated to continue to observe Jewish holy days. This should not surprise us for these were proper days for them to observe prior to the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. They have not at this time received the understanding that it is no longer necessary for them to observe these days under the new covenant. We find them in a transition period in which they are confused. If they were to not observe these days they would feel that they were not being obedient to God. They don’t have a grasp on the glorious truth that the work of the Lord Jesus Christ is complete and the days that they observe are only shadows of His fullness (Col. 2:17).
To summarize, I make these observations:
- The dispute involves different understandings between weak and strong brothers in Christ.
- The weak feel that they must observe the Jewish holy days as they were previously commanded to do.
- The strong understand the completed work of Jesus Christ and the new covenant make these days obsolete.
- These different understandings cause dissension.
- The only possible solution at this time is for both groups to accept one another in love.
- In time we should expect the weak to become mature after they have been instructed in the truth and come to an understanding of what Jesus Christ has accomplished.
This is believed to be the interpretation of this passage or its proper understanding. Thus we must expect anyone making application from this passage to keep this understanding in mind at all times.
This is the question which now comes before us: Is the Christian observance of Christmas protected by way of application in this passage? To determine this let us consider the circumstances involved in both cases and see if there are any likenesses.
|Situation addressed in Romans 14||Situation of present day X-mass celebrants|
|The young Jewish believers observed a day.||Those who celebrate Christmas are celebrating a season and a festival. Although they claim to celebrate a day, their actions betray them. Long before the day arrives they will be putting up trees, shopping for presents (not for Jesus), building and placing creches, decorating with lights and other objects (many of occultic background), planning and going to parties and endlessly talking about these activities.|
|The Jewish converts were keeping days that they were previously obligated to observe.||The Christmas celebration has never been sanctified by scripture. It is built upon the lie, which is acknowledged by most everyone, that Jesus Christ was born on December 25. Rather than having support from the word of God, it is man made religion which is condemned by Jesus (Matt. 15:9).|
|When the weak Jewish convert kept a day, there were disciplines that he performed. For instance, if he felt he needed to keep the sabbath, he had instruction from the scripture with regard to his activity (Deut. 5:12-14).||The celebrants of Christmas adhere to no spiritual disciplines. If they were to spend the day in the scripture with fasting and prayer they could at least be commended. However, the day will be spent by most in a festive atmosphere, eating, exchanging gifts and doing whatever they choose to do. These are the same “spiritual disciplines” that the pagans have done as this Babylonian festival evolved.|
|The observances of these young Jewish believers did not take place in the church. The day that the weak brother regarded, he regarded it unto the Lord. The observance that he performed he rendered without the presence of those who did not wish to take part in the observance. For certain observances he most likely went to the synagogue. The strong brother was not required to endure the observances of the weak.||The Christmas celebration takes place within the church as well as in the world. In most churches the celebration generally consumes the month of December with decorations in the church building, parties, programs and some emphasis in all the services. If there is one who does not desire to celebrate, he must choose between being absent or enduring the festival.|
|The weak Jewish brother could be expected in time to mature and be released in conscience from observing obsolete holy days.||The celebrant of Christmas expects to continue in a syncretistic fable originating from Babylonian mystery religion on a day when the now glorified Son of God was not born.|
Thus, this writer concludes that Romans 14 does not exonerate the practice of Christmas from scriptural condemnation. The day that the weak Jewish convert observed was a day formally warranted by scripture with designated disciplines. It was observed outside the church without involving the strong.
The weak brother could be expected in time to mature in conscience and no longer feel obligated to observe it.
In contrast, the “day” the Christmas celebrant celebrates is a pagan originated festival of unknown duration having no basis in scripture nor God-ordained disciplines. It is celebrated in the church and considered immutable. Thus we see that there is no relationship between the two “holy” days.
The scripture condemns such practices as Christmas. Jeremiah 10:2,3 tell us to “learn not the way of the heathen” and that “the customs of the people are vain.” In Matthew 15:9 Jesus explains that men worship Him in vain, “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” In Colossians 2:8 we are told to beware lest someone should spoil us “through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world.” I Timothy 1:4 instructs us to “neither give heed to fables … which minister questions.”
Jude 3 exhorts us to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” The “faith” is the body of truth contained in the scripture. Matthew 28:20 reveals that what is to be taught and observed are “all things whatsoever I (Jesus) have commanded you.” Titus 2:1 commands us to “speak thou the things which become sound doctrine.”
Christmas is a deceitful Babylonian fable with assorted heathen traditions added through the centuries. You cannot mix it with Christianity and call it “worship in spirit and truth” any more than you can mix skunk manure with honey and call it a feast.
Christmas is not part of the faith for which we are to contend. It is not that which the Lord Jesus Christ has commanded us to observe. It is not sound doctrine. Christians should abhor it for the demonically inspired Babylonian myth that it is.
Elder Keith Ellis on X mas-You Tube
3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Is this a practice in your church in even the slightest way? Swooning is one thing but these manifestations are NOT of the Holy Spirit!
Lighthouse Trails Kundalini Energy (the effects of Soaking Prayer)
Everything in time and space had a beginning. I had a beginning; you had a beginning. The houses we live in had a beginning. The clothes we wear had a beginning. There was a time when our houses, our clothes, cars, washing machines, and ourselves, did not exist. They were not. Nothing could be more obvious.
Because we are surrounded by things and by people that obviously had a beginning, we are tempted to jump to the conclusion that everything had a beginning. Such a conclusion, however, would be a fatal leap into the abyss of absurdity. It would be fatal to religion. It would also be fatal to science and to reason.
Why? Did I not say that everything in time and space had a beginning? Isn’t that the same thing as saying simply that everything had a beginning? By no means. It is simply logically and scientifically impossible that everything had a beginning. Why? If everything that exists once had a beginning, then there had to be a time when nothing existed.
Stop for a moment to reflect. Try to imagine nothing existing. Absolutely nothing. We can’t even conceive of absolute nothingness. The very concept is merely the negation of something.
Yet, if there ever was such a time when absolutely nothing existed, what would there be now? Right. Nothing! If ever there was nothing, then by resistless logic, there would always be nothing. There’s not even an “always” during which there could be nothing.
Why can we be so sure, indeed, absolutely certain, that if ever there was nothing then there would be nothing now? The answer is astonishingly simple, despite the fact that extremely intelligent people often stumble over the obvious. The answer is simply that you can’t get something from nothing. An absolute law of science and logic is ex nihilo nihil fit, (out of nothing, nothing comes). Nothing cannot produce anything. Nothing can’t laugh, sing, cry, work, dance, or breathe. It certainly can’t create. Nothing can’t do anything because it isn’t anything. It doesn’t exist. It has no power whatsoever because it has no being.
For something to come out of nothing it would have to possess the power of self-creation. It would have to be able to create itself or bring itself into existence. But that is a manifest absurdity. For something to create or produce itself it would have to be before it is. But if something already is, it doesn’t need to be created. To create itself, something would have to be and not be, exist and not exist, at the same time and in the same respect. That is a contradiction. It violates the most fundamental of all rational and scientific laws, the law of noncontradiction.
If we know anything, we know that if anything exists now, then somehow, somewhere, something did not have a beginning. I am aware that brilliant thinkers such as Bertrand Russell, in his famous debate with Frederick Copelston, argued that the present universe is the result of an “infinite series of finite causes.” It poses an endless series, working backwards into eternity, of one caused thing causing another forever. This idea merely compounds the problem of self-creation infinitely. It is a fundamentally silly concept. The fact that it has been proposed by intelligent people makes it no less silly. It’s worse than silly. Silly things can be real. But this concept is logically impossible.
Russell can deny the law that out of nothing, nothing comes, but he cannot refute it without committing mental suicide. We know (with logical certitude) that if anything exists now, then there must be something that did not have a beginning. Now the question becomes what or who.
Many serious scholars believe that the answer to the what is found within the universe itself. They argue (as Carl Sagan does) that there is no need to go above or beyond the universe to find something that had no beginning from which everything else comes. That is, we need not assume something like “God” who is transcendent to the universe. The universe or something in it can do the job quite well itself.
There is a subtle error lurking in the above scenario. It has to do with the meaning of the term transcendent. In philosophy and theology the idea of transcendence means that God is “above and beyond” the universe in the sense that He is a higher order of being than other beings. We commonly refer to God as the supreme Being.
What makes the supreme Being different from a human being? Notice that both concepts share a common word, being. When we say that God is the supreme Being, we are saying that He is a being who differs in kind from other ordinary beings. What precisely is that difference? He is called supreme because He has no beginning. He is supreme because all other beings owe their existence to Him, and He owes His existence to none other than Himself. He is the eternal Creator. Everything else is the work of His creation.
When Carl Sagan and others say that in the universe, and not above it or beyond it, there is something that is not created, he is merely quibbling about the Creator’s address. He is saying that what is uncreated lives here (within the universe), not “out there” (above or transcendent to the universe). But he still requires a supreme Being. His mysterious part of the universe from which all created things come is still beyond and above everything else in the creation in terms of being. In other words, there still must be a transcendent Being.
The more we probe this “within-the-universe Creator,” the more it or He begins to sound like God. He is uncreated. He creates everything else. He, or it, has the power in itself of being.
What is crystal clear is that if something exists now, then there must be a supreme Being from which all other beings come. The first assertion of the Bible is “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This text is foundational to all Christian thought. It is not only a religious statement, it is a rationally necessary concept.
- Everything in time and space has a beginning.
- Something cannot come from nothing. Nothing cannot do anything.
- If ever there was nothing, then nothing could exist now.
- Something exists now; therefore something must exist that has no beginning.
- Things cannot create themselves because they would have to be before they are.
- If some “part” of the universe is uncreated, then it is superior or transcendent to the parts that have a beginning.
- An uncreated being is supreme (a higher order of being than created beings), regardless of where it lives.
- Transcendence refers to a level of being, not to geography
Years ago I was involved in the charismatic movement at a hyper-charismatic Assemblies of God church. Oh, we so loved our experiences of being slain in the Spirit and tongues jabbering! We were ultra-spiritual! I can say in hindsight that I worshiped the experiences and not God (though I thought I was honoring God and worshiping Him only). Now, the upper echelon of the Assemblies of God does not, the last time I looked it up, approve of such things and haven’t since they declared it in the 1940′s. However, go to any AG site and they extol the manifestations as biblically sound. These are heretical teachings but you, the reader, if you believe them to be true then I cannot convince you otherwise. I do know that I once prayed to God to reveal to me all of the lies I had believed were the truth and, oh my! did God ever open my eyes to the truth of scriptures on my beliefs! Prior to this, no one could convince me that the very scriptures I was now reading revealing the truth of those lies were the truth of the matter. I had been worshiping a different God, a different Jesus. Truth is not multi-faceted. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. If the Truth is not according to God’s Word then the foundation of your “truth” will skew the way and the life of your Christian beliefs and walk.
There is a new kid in Churchtown called Spiritual Formation. Oh, this little imp has been around awhile but its gaining in popularity due to Christians not exercising discernment like good Bereans. All false doctrine relies on lazy believers who do not exercise discernment. Or they do as I once did in elevating the teacher/preacher to an unquestionable level, i.e., they knew what they were talking about and what did I know? I really didn’t think to pray for help in knowing the truth from spiritual fiction. I studied the Word of God but it was from a false foundation of “truth.” But when I prayed for help in discerning what was being taught, God would reveal other scriptures to either debunk or to validate the teaching. He wants us to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. This Spiritual Formation teaching was making inroads in that ol’ AG church I attended and so the prophecies became more abundant and mystical. One thing I did know back then was that when God spoke to His prophets there was no wondering if it was from Him or not. There were no vague visions, either, that the recipient didn’t ask God for clarification and received it. Daniel and John being the exceptions. Though a prophet didn’t understand the things he was seeing, he knew God was the revealer and that the things he was seeing were going to come to pass and that he was sent to give warning. No question about it! So, what is this incidious creep of a practice?
There are those that think God gives direct messages like some weak radio signal and if they get their flesh quiet enough and their spiritual importance antenna high enough above the rest, they can tune in and hear His latest broadcast. Believe me, when God spoke to His prophets they had absolutely no problem hearing Him. I do not recall one prophet ever saying huh or having to go through a learning curve like some modern false prophets claim when they are proven wrong. The one time God spoke audibly to Israel they were so terrified that they asked Him not to speak to them again lest they die (Ex 20:19). Presumptious false prophets claiming to hear from God ought to take heed and repent. (bold mine)
The mind is deceitful and it plays tricks. As a new Christian in the Charismatic Movement of the 1970′s, I was taught that I needed to speak in tongues, so I did. However, it did not take long for me to realize that when using and interpreting my “prayer language” I was really telling myself what I wanted to hear. In other words, through tongues, I was making God say things to me that He was not saying. When I realized that, I stopped the practice and separated from churches that were teaching people to interpret illusions of their own minds. How is this Spiritual Formation with its contemplative prayer any different?
Today, hearing from God is being taught everywhere. The methods are the same that Eastern pagan mystics and Catholic mystics use to hear from the spirits. Thanks to the influence of Charismatic movement leaders, and the Spiritual Formation discipline taught in almost all Bible colleges, most of the Evangelical movement now believes that direct revelation from God is something to be achieved. (bold mine)
(minor grammatical corrections made)
As things wax worse and worse we, as Christians, need to step up our discernment exercising. This is not a time for spiritual laziness. We need to ask God to reveal to us all the lies that we have been believing as truth and put our love for God, and not the spiritual experiences, first and foremost. And, believe me, when you know the Truth you will try to tell those you love to stop their ungodly practices and you will be ridiculed for it and even told that you are the erring one. They may even seperate themselves from you because they are so absolutely positive that God moves in their church and/or worship. Don’t argue or debate with them but pray for God to open their eyes to the truth also. Only He can do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:21- but test everything; hold fast what is good. ESV
John 17:3- And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. ESV
Matthew 7:21- “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heavendisclaimer: I am not denigrating all AG congregants/pastors/churches as I have known of many who do not allow such heretical shenanigans in their church or of their person in worshiping God
In this video, Johanna Michaelson addresses the invasion of the occult in Christianity by reason of christianizing pagan practices. She shows how this is not fooling God and that even the elect can be deceived, though only for a time. She knows full well what she speaks of. When she talked of the practice of yoga by Christians it also reminded me of the christianized pagan Christ Mass celebration so I decided to post this video now, during this “season” to help, hopefully, God’s children to be more discerning in all that we are doing for His glory, that it be of the right, true spirit of God. Even if you see no reason to stop celebrating the Christ Mass, I hope this will help you to be careful what you are doing because of the spiritual consequences of allowing pagan and occultic practices into your life. We are to do all as unto the Lord so we do want to be careful that what we do is of God’s Spirit and is approved of Him. Have your Bible at the ready if you would like to follow along with her teaching.
The fascinating history of the KJV Word of God and the Reformation.
note: I am not a King James Version only Christian but I do believe that Christians must be discerning as to which version of Scriptures are read. Do your research!
…Americans boldly proclaimed the Name above all names, Jesus Christ, in the public and government arena. I was reading an article by Reverend Mark H. Creech titled, Public prayer in Jesus’ name: yes or no?, and it made me wax nostalgic for the times before I was born. Yes, its possible to do that when you love old books, like the reverend and I do. In his article, he tells of an old Army and Navy Service book for chaplains that his daughter bought for him and in it he noticed George Washington’s prayer. I will refer you to his article to read that prayer and his commentary. My commentary will be similar to it.
Well, this prayer of Washington’s piqued my interest so I dug out my old Army and Navy Hymnal book that my late fiance had when he was in the service during the Viet Nam War. Its copyright date: 1941. That old? I love it! It was from the time of WWII and I immediately wondered at the history it has seen if it could only talk. Sadly, it had to be retired. Besides, the next big war was the Gulf War and it would have been replaced with a newer, more generic hymnal by then, I’m sure, since the mentioning of Jesus’ Name was starting to wane by public and state proclamations. Thankfully, this treasure fell into my hands. I love the old book. I just have to use the computer to search for the old hymns to hear their tune. Some of them I do know. Oh! I once attended a church that had Old Hymns night, where all the gray heads would play their respective instruments, if they played one, and belt out those old songs with smiling eyes and tapping foot.
I opened up the book to its first page and there’s ”A Prayer for the Army.” It says:
Lord God of Hosts, whose power is from everlasting, and whose Name is above every name in heaven and on earth: keep, we pray Thee, under thy protecting care the Army of our country and all who serve therein. Defend them amid violence on land or sea or in the heavens, and grant that they may be a sure defense and a safeguard for the people of the United States and a security for such as come and go in peaceful and lawful pursuit. In time of peace keep them from evil, and in the day of conflict suffer not their courage to fail: that they may guard the American heritage against those who would destroy or straiten the liberties of government by the people, and to the end that the blessings of religion and law may be preserved to posterity. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
I’ll make no more comment on our great religious heritage that has now been relegated to the private citizen’s closet so as not offend the athiest and islamist. You, my reader, may have your own thoughts on this and I hope you will share them in the comments below. Please do read Reverend Creech’s article, too. Its a “good-un!”
(I do want to add this little note though-that the only religions mentioned in the Hymnal are the Catholics, the Protestants, and the Jewish. Hmmm…Islam gets no mention. Evidently, Muslims were of no consequence at that time.)
Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for the well-being of this people. Although they fast, I will not listen to their cry; though they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Instead, I will destroy them with the sword, famine and plague.”
But I said, “Ah, Sovereign Lord, the prophets keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.’”
Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds (Jeremiah 14:11-14).
I’ve been avoiding this topic for some time, but it won’t go away. It was brought back to mind this week after I read that a man bought copies of a currently popular book that compares ancient Israel with the USA and sent one to every member of his state’s government. I’m sure he was well intentioned, but from the article it appeared that he was using the book to call their attention to the promise God made to Israel in 2 Chronicles 7:14 as a remedy for their state.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
As you know, I have problems with Christians claiming that promise for the USA. People who live in the United States are not automatically God’s people, no version of our official name contains the name of God, and God’s people in the USA who are called by God’s name are part of the Christian Church which has no homeland in the USA or any other country on Earth. On the contrary, the Church has been called to reject the things of this world and be ready to re-locate to our real home in Heaven. That’s where our citizenship is (Phil. 3:20).
But those who try to invoke the promise of 2 Chron. 7:14 as the remedy for the US ignore this. They also ignore the fact that 2 Chron. 7:14 was first spoken by the Lord to King Solomon long before the destruction that came at the hands of the Assyrians, as noted in the book. Are we to believe there were no Israelites alive at the time who knew about this promise from God? Did no one think to remind Him of it? Because the Northern Kingdom was surely not spared the judgment.
But let’s say it is possible that no one remembered 2 Chron. 7:14 and that’s why the Northern Kingdom was destroyed. What about the Southern Kingdom? It was part of Israel when the promise was given. Wasn’t it also defeated? Consider what God had Jeremiah tell the people there who were praying for His protection as the Babylonians took up their positions outside the city walls.
Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for the well-being of this people. Although they fast, I will not listen to their cry; though they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Instead, I will destroy them with the sword, famine and plague.”(Jeremiah 14:11-12)
These were God’s people, their national name did contain the Name of God, and He had given them a land on Earth. 2 Chronicles 7:14 advocates say it would only take a sincere effort by the faithful to repent and pray our country out of judgment, but as Jeremiah 14 reveals, at least some of God’s people were repenting and praying. Why didn’t that save them?
Did God break His promise to them? Of course not. What happened was they officially broke the terms of their covenant and abandoned Him. And once they had done that, nothing else they did could prevent their destruction. They no longer had a right to His help.
Then the Lord said to me, “There is a conspiracy among the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem. They have returned to the sins of their forefathers, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods to serve them. Both the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken the covenant I made with their forefathers. Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them. (Jeremiah 11:9-11)
But even though He’s not obligated to do so, at the appointed time God will keep His promise to Israel. He will forgive their sins and heal their land. And when He does, it won’t happen because of anything they’ve done.
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes” (Ezekiel 36:22-23).
The United States has never had an official covenant with God, but we’ve broken all His laws just the same. And we’ve done so with ever increasing audacity in spite of overwhelming blessing, as if daring Him to do something about it. If our leaders speak for us, as the book suggests, then Franklin Graham’s recent comment that our president “shook his fist in the face of God” was a warning for all of us to prepare for God’s response. Can anything prevent our judgment?
This means that for the United States the popular use of 2 Chronicles 7:14 as a cure for our problems is nothing more than a fulfillment of Paul’s “itching ears” prophecy.
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear (2 Tim 4:3)
Whether they realize it or not those who advocate 2 Chronicles 7:14 as a remedy for the United States are just saying what our itching ears want to hear. It’s a false teaching that gives false hope to the Biblically uninformed, a repeat of the false promises of Jeremiah’s time.
On some level everybody knows things are not OK in the world, and our nature is to want to know things will get better. Having exhausted our human options, we’re finally thinking about turning to God, but claiming the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14 is going about it the wrong way and it won’t work.
God has always intended to give us hope, but He has never promised to heal the United States, whose national heart is incurably wicked, because He doesn’t have a covenant with the United States. Nor has He promised the United States a future like He does for Israel. But He has promised to rescue the Church by taking us out of the way before He gives the go ahead for the End Times judgments, because He does have a covenant with the Church. And that covenant is not conditional upon our behavior, it’s based on our belief.
In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:2-3)
Notice He didn’t promise to come here to be with us where we are. He promised to come back to take us there to be with him where He is, in His Father’s house.
Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth (Rev. 3:10).
The Greek word translated “from” in this verse means “out of the place, time, or cause” of the hour of trial. Like 1 Thes. 1:10 it’s a promise to rescue us from the wrath to come.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever (1 Thes. 4:16-17).
Again, this is not a promise to come to Earth to be with us here. Its a promise to draw us up into the sky and take us to be with Him forever.
If you want to have hope, you don’t have to dig through the Old Testament to misappropriate a conditional promise made to another people for another time, one that even those to whom it was given could not claim. You only have to look in the New Testament and receive an unconditional promise made to the Church for our time that all of us can claim.
As Christians we need to stop confusing our country with our religion. No matter how good our life is on Earth, God has a much better future in store for us in Heaven. On its very best day, no country could ever begin to compare with it. No amount of peace or prosperity could ever be a reasonable substitute.
The only reason we cling to our past is that we know so little about our future. So take a moment and think about it. Heavenly royalty. Mansions in the sky on streets of gold. Unbridled joy. No more death or mourning or crying or pain. The aging process reversed, our health restored, our abilities magnified, all our cares and concerns gone. Each day more exciting and fulfilling than the previous one. Where can you find that here? Where has anyone ever found that here?
Psalm 45 is a wedding song for the Messiah and His bride. When he wrote it, the Psalmist spoke these prophetic words to the Church of today.
Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear. Forget your people and your father’s house. The King is enthralled by your beauty. Honor Him for He is your Lord. (Psalm 45:10-11)
Forget about futile attempts to restore past glories. You’ve got a future ahead of you that’s beyond imagining. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Cor. 4:17-18).
Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 06-02-12
Isaiah 66:7-8: Before going into labor, she gave birth; before her pains came, she delivered a male child. Who ever heard of such at thing? Who has ever seen such things? Is a country born in one day? Is a nation brought forth all at once? For as soon as Tziyon went into labor, she brought forth her children. – Stern’s Complete Jewish Bible
Isaiah prophecied that Israel would become a nation again and that it would happen in one day!
Bible passage: Isaiah 66:7-8
Prophet: Isaiah Written: perhaps between 701-681 BC
hattip: Coach Dave Daubenmire
David Wood — once arrested in Dearborn, MI and tried for SWC (speaking while Christian) — joins Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer for a conference on the conflict between Sharia law & the U.S. Constitution, the honor killing of Muslim girls and the religious inspiration for that grisly practice.
The truth offends the mind to reveal the heart. ~Unknown
I personally think we have about 20 years left before we complete the prophetic end of the age and enter the millennial reign of Jesus. If that is true, I think many things must happen in the next twenty years, so be very careful about what you buy into. If my timing is correct, and Jesus comes for the faithful Church prior to the tribulation, then at most there is ten to fifteen years left to work before the Rapture. If we are that close to the second coming, then the stage for some of the end time prophetic events should already be observable in the world.
For example, we should be able to observe that Israel is back in the land surrounded by enemies; we should see a powerful nation far north of Israel with the military capabilities to fulfill the Gog prophecy in Ezekiel 38 and 39; we should see nations rising in the Far East that will be able to field the 200 million horsemen army from the East foretold in Revelation 9:16; we should see a group of nations on its way to becoming a world power in the area of the old Roman Empire; we should see technology and communications that will make it possible so that no one can buy or sell without the biometric 666 identification of Rev 13:17; we should also see the rise of apostasy and see a world harlot religious system forming like is symbolized in Revelation 17.
Today Israel is surrounded by Arab enemies and Islam is consolidating against Israel. Putin in far north Russia just announced a ten-year plan to build a modern military and he also intends to form a new soviet-like union. China and India will peak in population with those of military age in the next 20 years and nobody doubts that they will become military and economic superpowers. (Beyond 2030-2040 the Far East will go into depression and decline due to the realities of aborted children and resultant demographics.) Revelation makes it very clear that this huge army was prepared for a specific point in time and we can see the makings of that army forming now. By 2030 there will be a hundred million surplus men in the Far East that will have little chance of a normal family life and they will become expendable. The EU is a rising fascist beast that is increasingly gaining control over once sovereign nations of Europe. It certainly looks like the EU or some spin-off from it will fulfill the revival of the Roman Empire that was foretold in Daniel and Revelation. Computer devices and projected Internet satellite systems will make the Revelation 666 buy and sell system over all people on earth technically possibly within 10 to 15 years. We can also see the Harlot of Revelation 17 coming together through “all paths” theology and we can see Vatican efforts to try to put world religion under their authority…
This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley
“The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with hewn stones; the sycamores are cut down, but we will replace them with cedars.” (Isaiah 9:10 NKJV)
It’s fair to say I was a skeptic when I picked up a copy of The Harbinger, by Jonathan Cahn. I decided to read the book only because I had received several questions about it. But I soon discovered that the author makes a stunning case for a connection between the judgment of the northern Kingdom by the Assyrians in 722 BC and the judgment of America, underway since 9-11.
The way leaders of both countries responded to a limited judgment with defiance and resolve but no repentance was way beyond coincidence. And by responding with the very same words that Isaiah attributed to Israel (Isaiah 9:10), America’s leaders left no doubt in my mind that the judgments we’ve suffered are warnings from God and they didn’t grasp the meaning of Isaiah’s words even though they repeated them over and over again.
I was tracking beautifully with the author’s interpretation of our recent history and literally couldn’t put the book down as long as he was comparing Israel’s history with ours.
Then What Happened?
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14).
But when he used the above passage to justify his claim that America could experience a different outcome from the Northern Kingdom’s, he lost me. In my mind the book was instantly downgraded to another work of fiction, although with convincing historical and spiritual analysis. I had a hard time getting through the last few chapters, because they were just a human opinion based on an incorrect interpretation of 2 chronicles 7:14. At its end the book had become just as vague and fanciful as it had been precise and direct at the beginning.
If the author is correct in his assertion that as far as God is concerned political leaders officially speak for their country, then America is not the country of “my people who are called by my name” to whom 2 Chronicles 7:14 is addressed. At a press conference in Turkey in April of 2009 President Obama said that America is not a Christian nation. He was repeating something he’d been saying since 2007. When asked to clarify this he once said, “What I mean is America is not just a Christian nation. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”
That statement doesn’t make sense. A nation may count among its residents people of many faiths, but it can’t be a nation of all of them. Such a nation could only be a nation of no official faith. And that’s what America is, we’re a nation of no official faith. (I sometimes wonder how it makes Christians from other countries feel when American Christians act as if they think America and the Church are one and the same.)
It’s true there are a lot of Christians in America. But we all belong to the Church and the Church has no national homeland, not in America and not anywhere else. The Church comes from every nation on Earth but our citizenship is in Heaven (Phil. 3:20) and that’s where our home is. American believers are not called to repent and save America any more than believers who live in other countries are called to repent and save theirs. No matter what country we live in we’re supposed to be like Abraham, strangers in a foreign land looking forward to the city whose architect and builder is God (Hebr. 11:9-10).
Israel was a nation officially in a covenant relationship with God whose eternal destiny is to live with Him in the land He gave them here on Earth (Ezekiel 43:7). After King Solomon’s death the nation was divided, both physically and spiritually. The Northern Kingdom didn’t just split from the South, they also split from God. The Levitical Priests were expelled, and the faithful from all of the northern tribes fled to the south with them (2 Chron. 11:16). Only the unbelievers remained in the North. A new priesthood was formed and altars were erected to pagan gods. Failing to win the Northern Kingdom back, the Lord sent the Assyrians to warn them. They refused to heed the warnings and were ultimately conquered.
Even though our relationship with Him was different from theirs, America officially renounced God just as the Northern Kingdom had. Now God is judging America, and the only way for Americans to escape the coming judgment is to flee with the Church, like the believing Israelites fled with the priests. (To his credit the author did provide a moving set of instructions on how to become part of the Church.)
Once the Lord takes us home, what’s left of America will be destroyed for failing to heed God’s warnings just as the Northern Kingdom was destroyed. The dual purpose of the Great Tribulation is clearly explained in Jeremiah 30:11. The first is to completely destroy all the nations among which the Jews have been scattered, and the second is to discipline Israel in preparation for the coming Kingdom Age. If you’re looking for a Bible verse that refers to America in the end times, look at the first part of Jeremiah 30:11.
What About Them?
Things were different in the Southern Kingdom, even though they were in the process of abandoning God as well. On the Eve of their conquest by the Babylonians 120 years after the Northern Kingdom ceased to exist, God had Jeremiah tell the exiles from the Southern Kingdom:
“When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:10-11)
By no stretch of the imagination can this promise apply to any one but the Jews in exile in Babylon in the 6th century BC. Such a promise was never given to the Northern Kingdom, nor has one been given to America.
After the 70 years were over, God brought the Jews who were willing to return back to the Promised Land, just like He said He would. But this was not the fulfillment of 2 Chronicles 7:14 either. The 70 year period of the captivity had been predetermined by God and at its end He brought them back like He said. 2 Chronicles 7:14 will be fulfilled when the Jewish leadership invokes the promise of Hosea 6:1-2 and petitions the Lord’s return to save them.
When Will That Be?
When Israel’s rejection of Jesus as their Messiah was complete, He finally left them alone. It had been 40 days since He provided the unmistakable sign they had asked for (the sign of Jonah, Matt. 12:39) to prove He was who He claimed to be. 40 being the number of testing, their time of testing had expired and they had failed. In Hosea 5:15 the prophet had Him saying,
“Then I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me.”
When the judgments of the Great Tribulation are at their worst, Israel will officially petition the Lord’s return.
“Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence” (Hosea 6:1-2).
When they do, the Lord will pour out His Spirit of Grace and Supplication. Their eyes will be opened and they will look upon Him who they have pierced and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child. (Zechariah 12:10). Some scholars have suggested that Isaiah 53 will be their official prayer of confession.
On the day the Lord returns He will be King of the whole Earth. On that day there will be one Lord and His name the only name (Zech. 14:9). Then Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations. Their blood guilt which I have not pardoned, I will pardon. The Lord dwells in Zion (Joel 3:20-21). 2 Chronicles 7:14 will finally be fulfilled.
On three separate occasions just before the Southern Kingdom was conquered by the Babylonians, God told Jeremiah to stop praying for the Jews because He wasn’t listening any more (Jeremiah 7:16, 11:14. 14:11). I believe America may also have reached that point with Him. It’s clear that America’s unbelievers don’t want the Church to save them, and the only believers still fighting for America’s future are the ones who don’t understand what’s ahead for the Church.
In summary, it’s not the Church’s job to save America. Our job is to store up treasure in Heaven by helping those who can no longer help themselves on Earth. In this way we show forth the light and love of the Lord in this dark and dying place. Selah
Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn— shout for joy before the LORD, the King.
Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, Let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.
Many Bible commentators, when writing about the End of the Age, stop at the Lord’s return at the end of the Great Tribulation. This psalm is obviously written about the time beginning immediately afterward. Here’s how things will go according to the Lord’s own account.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matt. 24:31-34,41)
Those who were left on Earth after the Rapture and have survived the subsequent seven years of judgments will know exactly what’s coming. He’s arrived to establish phase two of His Kingdom, the time Christians know as the Millennium, a thousand years of peace. Finally Isaiah’s prophecy, echoed in the message of the angelic choir over Bethlehem, will be coming true.
Israel will once again be Earth’s favored nation, allowed to live in peace in the land promised to Abraham so long ago, never again to be uprooted. And as has happened so often in the past when God’s people are in their land and at peace with Him, the creation itself will blossom and flourish with such energy and exuberance that it will actually break forth in unrestrained praise. The sky will be at its bluest, the grass at its greenest, the weather always perfect. And peace on earth, good will toward men will be the song in everyone’s heart.
The streets will be filled with the happy sound of children playing. Young men and women will dream confidently of a future filled with promise, and the elderly will bask in the contentment of a life well lived. The sound of weeping and crying will be heard no more. Peace will reign on Planet Earth, and in the sky above the New Jerusalem, home of the redeemed, will bear testimony that the ends of the Earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Why can’t we have that now? Because there are three major obstacles to this utopian ideal that currently prevent it. First and foremost is Satan, the enemy of peace, whose personal war with God has infected and nearly destroyed all of mankind. He’ll be defeated, bound in chains for the duration of the 1000 year Kingdom.
The second is the debilitating effect of man’s divided will. At the Kingdom’s establishment every surviving non-believer will be removed from the Earth. Finally, there will be only one will on Earth, God’s will. Our centuries long prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven” will have been answered.
And third, our King, who has been gone these last 2000 years will have returned to personally establish and rule over His Kingdom on Earth. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:7)
If you long for peace on Earth, and who doesn’t, then pray for the Lord’s return. It’s our best hope, our only hope. Come Lord Jesus.~ Jack Kelley
From Alexander Hislop’s 1916 classic, The Two Babylons: Or the Papal Worship:
“Upright men strove to stem the tide, but in spite of all their efforts, the apostasy went on, till the Church, with the exception of a small remnant, was submerged under Pagan superstition. That Christmas is a Pagan festival is beyond all doubt. The time of the year and the ceremonies with which it is still celebrated, prove its origin.”
Ahmed Deedat and Josh McDowell debate their beliefs concerning the truth of Jesus’ crucifixion. (2 hours)
Article by Jack Kelley
This is the word of the Lord concerning Israel. The Lord, Who stretches out the Heavens Who lays the foundations of the Earth, and Who forms the spirit of man within him declares, “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem.
On that day when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves” (Zech 12:1-3).
True, the ultimate fulfillment of this passage will come at the very end of the age, but a careful reading shows the progressive nature of the prophecy. First the surrounding nations will be sent reeling, with both Judah (West Bank) and Jerusalem besieged. Ultimately all the nations of the earth will be involved, and those who move against Jerusalem will wind up injuring themselves. And please don’t miss the way the Author identifies Himself: the One Who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth and forms man’s spirit within him. Not much doubt as to Who’s speaking, so we better pay attention.
When Will These Things Happen?
It’s safe to say that all the nations of the earth are troubled over Jerusalem today. They realize the ease with which the whole world could be drawn into a conflict in the Middle East. And almost all are already aligned against Jerusalem. Remember, the prophecy is initially focused on the surrounding peoples and indicates that Judah and Jerusalem will be besieged. The degree to which this part of the prophecy is already being fulfilled is frightening. Much of the land bordering Israel has become little more than an armed camp, filled with troops at the ready.
Hezbollah has been moving their rockets and missiles into position again with Lebanon’s full support, while steadily increasing their inventories of weaponry. Syria also has troops along Israel’s northern border as well as missiles set to fire upon Israeli cities. In the South Hamas and the PA are no less prepared. Recent reports confirm that large numbers of rockets and missiles from Libya have turned up in Gaza. Together, these next door neighbors claim that every city in Israel is now within missile range. In it’s headline report on Dec. 5, 2011 Debkafile assessed the likelihood of war in the Middle East, including an Israeli attack on Iran, to be very high between mid-December and mid-January. The US and Russia have both stationed powerful fleets in the Eastern Mediterranean against this possibility. There’s still time for diplomacy but for now no one believes a diplomatic solution will be forthcoming.
As a result, this is beginning to look like a run-up to Psalm 83, a battle that’s never happened, but involves all of Israel’s next door neighbors in an effort to “destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more” (Psalm 83:4). The Psalmist pleads with God to pursue Israel’s neighbors with His tempest and terrify them with His storm so they will perish in disgrace (Psalm 83:15-17). I believe his prayer will be answered because this outcome is necessary to set the stage for Ezekiel 38-39.
Isaiah 17, An Oracle Against Damascus
We should also consider what could be a related prophecy from Isaiah 17. It was partially fulfilled in 732 BC when the Assyrians conquered Damascus (Aram). But never did Damascus cease to be inhabited as the prophecy requires (Isaiah 17:1). In fact to this day Damascus is described as the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, over 5000 years and counting. The fortified city in vs. 3 was Samaria, capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. It was destroyed by the Assyrians in 722 BC. The Northern Kingdom consisted of the 10 tribes of Israel who rebelled in the religious upheaval that followed King Solomon’s death and was allied with Damascus against Assyria. Like Damascus it was defeated and its people carried off into captivity. Since Damascus was never destroyed and never ceased being inhabited, the world may have seen a partial fulfillment in history that points to a total fulfillment yet future to us.
This is not unusual in Bible prophecy where the complete fulfillment of a passage may unfold over thousands of years. You receive an example of this in the mail every Christmas. It comes in the form of a Christmas card that says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. And the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6). The passage goes on to explain that He will sit on David’s throne and reign in peace forever.
Only the first phrase of this passage has come to pass. The Child was born, the Son was given. The rest of the passage awaits His 2nd coming, but the fact that He was born confirms that the rest will take place as well. Partial fulfillment is the Lord’s way of validating End Times prophecies thousands of years in advance.
The Oracle against Damascus is a lot like the one against Babylon in Isaiah 13-14, where Babylon is also described as being so totally destroyed that it would never be inhabited again. For many years scholars believed this prophecy was fulfilled when the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon about 535 BC. It took the Gulf War to show us that Saddam Hussein had spent billions re-building Babylon, and to realize that Babylon was never destroyed in the manner the Bible describes. It has in fact been occupied almost continuously since its construction 2700 years ago. The City of Babylon will play a major role in world events at the end of the age before its final and total destruction, foretold in Rev. 18.
Back To Damascus
Admittedly the Oracle against Damascus in Isaiah 17 is somewhat more obscure. Scholars who place fulfillment of this passage in our time rely on four things:
1. The phrase in vs. 1 “Damascus will no longer be a city”
2. The multiple use of the phrase “in that day” through out the passage (vs. 4, 7, 9) which often hints of the end times
3. Men will “Look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel,” see below,
4. The mention of many nations in vs.12-14 would seem to include more than just Assyria.
Regarding point 3 there was a temporary revival in the southern kingdom under King Hezekiah that spared Jerusalem from the Assyrians, but nowhere is a revival in the northern kingdom or among the Arameans (Damascus was the capital of Aram) or Assyrians mentioned in history. And yet in Isaiah 19:23-25 Assyria is mentioned with Egypt and Israel as being called “My people, My handiwork, and My inheritance” by God in the millennium. This reconciliation with God is still in the future.
Soon And Very Soon
The USA and Europe have been warning Israel that an attack on Iran would not only result in a wider war in the Middle East, but would also deliver a severe blow to an already reeling world economy. Because of this US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently said that Israel has to come to terms with a Nuclear Iran, an Islamized Middle East, and reliance on the US for protection.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said sometimes making a risky decision carries a heavy price, but the price for not making it would be heavier. Reliable observers interpret this to mean when the time comes to attack Iran, whatever repercussions it could cause will not be considered in light of the threat to Israel’s continued existence. We’ll soon know whether that time has come.
You can almost hear the Footsteps of the Messiah. 12-10-11
I wasn’t going to go “there.” I wasn’t going to point out the hypocrisy of the Christian bashers but Doug Giles got me riled enough to do it. So here is my post on the double standards of Christian bashers who have been as loud as roaring lions when it comes to Christians’ beliefs and behaviors but quiet as church mice when it comes to Muslims’ beliefs and behaviors. Why does the ‘tude of tolerance apply toward everyone but Christians? Its not just the white European males’ religion anymore, by the way.
Here’s a white European male’s take on the bashing of another white European male’s faith, freely expressed on the football field and freely spoken of by a blogger back in August:
I wonder if the Tebow critics would be as mouthy about his faith if Tim’s name was Achmed and the god he praised after a TD was Allah. I doubt it. Why do I hesitate? Well, it’s principally because Christophobic toads are afraid to turn the verbal guns they use to berate Christians on Muslims, that’s why. Plus, they’d probably go to jail or get fired for “hate speech,” but good Lord, you can certainly rag on Christians, now can’t ‘cha?
Yes, my children, Christians are fair game because the brethren won’t retaliate with an underwear bomb when you rip on them, and ridiculing them won’t get one censored. The harpy head lice know it and thus proceed with their daft quips about Tim’s faith displays. Macho, macho men.
On the other hand, in this evil-is-good and good-is-evil highway to hell culture, Tim Tebow, a model citizen, points toward heaven or bows a Rodin-style knee to Yahweh, and boom … he’s the bad guy. Well, if that’s the way it is in this culture of corruption then I’m supporting the rebel, Tim Tebow. He’s a rebel with a cause. The others are ridiculous without a clue.
Oh, by the way, I thought bullying was banned in this nicey-nice milieu that the progressives have created. Did I miss a class where it is cool to mock the crap out of anyone who wears their faith in Jesus Christ on their sleeve? I must have because these jealous wannabes are going medieval on the Broncos’ QB.
There’s more that Giles points out in his article while using witty fecetiousness to make his think-about-it points. Read it here.
My, but the vitriole against Tebow’s faith is still spewing by the unregenerate to this day. Christ Jesus truly does offend the mind to reveal the heart. Let’s answer the question that the CBS’ Sports blogger posed in his blog post:
Well, not that this question is going to shake up anyone’s faith in God or that its answer will turn on the I-need-Jesus light bulb in the unregenerate mockers heart or mind, but here’s the scoop-Tim Tebow would be the best back-up that Kyle Orton ever had and! would probably make Kyle Orton look like a much better player. Its about God, not Tim Tebow. God gives us the desires of our heart and Tebow is paying it forward for that in his appreciation to God. which is why he shares his faith and would do so even if he were an office worker. Yes, he’d give a knee-bend praise to God for every successful contract he wrote up if he worked in an office. Yes, he would share his faith at the watercooler, too, even if he were not a success but an ordinary joe. Yes, his sharing would offend everyone who wishes Christians would go hide under a bushel basket. Okay, at least they would prefer these Christians to keep it to themselves.
Let’s put a final word on this well publicized instance of Christian bashing. To be fair, the blogger claims he has no problem with anyone’s faith, which begs to be asked, why write the article then? He says he has been in church himself. He brings up the thing about Tebow that bothers him-that Tebow doesn’t allow for being less than perfect. I don’t know why Tebow’s confidence in God’s purpose for his life means he doesn’t allow for this imperfection since being a Christian means that we are far from perfect in God’s sight apart from Christ Jesus. You’d think this blogger would know that. He has been in church before, as he pointed out.
I’m sure I’m not the only Christian who has been told to shut up, that a person’s relationship to God is personal. Ofcourse, that’s a wrong interpretation when its meant in a private kind of hush-hush, don’t-share-your-faith-with-me way. When one says they have a personal relationship with Christ it means as in a relationship, one on one, like one has with their Father or spouse. God is no longer a distant, impersonal entity. And just as we would not hide the love we have for our earthly father or keep quiet the wonderfulness of our spouse before others, so we boast in Christ Jesus. All the more since salvation from God’s wrath is found in none other than Christ Jesus.
As I was wanting to say in this post, if Christians were Muslims then there would be no flak. We would be defended by the unregenerate. We would have patient listening ears as we share our faith. We would receive smiles from the hearers when they decline the offer to become a Muslim. Though our islamic faith calls for the death of Jews, Christians, homosexuals and all infidels who do not revert and bow to our god, people would go about calling us a misunderstood people group. Yes! We would hear the pacivists’ multicultural chant that we are of a peaceful, tolerant religion!
We would be able to impose our sharia law on society and people would defend that as our right to freely express our religion. We would be able to shout for all to hear to the Jews that we will buy a bigger oven for them to die in while the unregenerates say not a word, standing by our right to free speech. In fact, they would just look the other way and forget about being pc and even say that we have a good reason to feel that way towards those evil Jews. Yes, with our unconstitutional sharia we would be able to mutilate our daughters genitalia, keep them from becoming educated and let old geezers marry them when they are 9 years old. Slap a hajib or burka on them and tell them they cannot drive. Sure, the unregenerate would look at us strange but would let us go on our merry way. No women’s lib group would tell us that wives in our faith are sex slaves to their husbands. Because, after all, we are Muslims and our religion (ideology, actually, but don’t tell the infidels that, not that it would matter) requires such practices. How intolerant to say anything against the human rights violations of women and children in islam who are no better than mere donkeys or possessions!
No, I cannot say I would want to be tolerated by the unregenerate if it means becoming a Muslim and bowing to the islamic paper moon god. That’s eternally damning in my book, and that viewpoint will just have to offend the unregenerates who call evil good and good evil. I’d rather be looked at as intolerant even as my Muslim neighbor wants my head off my shoulders for not bowing to his Allah.
Article by Jack Kelley
Recently, I was reminded of a video I had watched some years ago on the life of Abraham. First shown on one of the cable networks, it was surprisingly faithful to the Bible’s account of Abraham’s life.
The late Richard Harris portrayed Abraham as a man of great sensitivity, with a yearning to know God. Eventually he was successful, for the Bible describes him as God’s friend (Isaiah 41:8). It does not tell us why Abraham sought God, or how he even knew there was a God. Although Abraham’s early ancestors had obviously known of Him, the people of Abraham’s time were not followers of this God. How did Abraham find out about Him?
Genesis 5 is a chronology of the first 10 generations of man. It’s given without explanation or embellishment and covers the period from Adam through Noah. Since the chronology is specific, calculating the life span of each man is simple, as is the total time from Adam’s creation to Noah’s death – 2006 years. Genesis 6 – 9 then shifts gears to describe the Great Flood, which occurred 1656 years after Adam’s creation. Chapter 10 is about the Tower of Babel.
Then in Genesis 11: 9 the chronology abruptly begins again with Noah’s son Shem and continues through Abraham (then called Abram) in Genesis 11:26. Once again we can calculate both the individual life spans and the total elapsed time of 10 generations. By putting the two lists together you come to the amazing discovery that Noah was still alive when Abram was born and died when Abram was 59.
You can also see that if Adam recounted the story of his origin to his son Seth and his grandson son Enosh, (seems likely, since Adam’s origin was pretty unique) then Enosh could have told Noah. In fact six of the other nine family heads were still alive and well during most of Noah’s life. Only Adam and Seth had died, and Enoch was raptured. Since they all lived in the same general vicinity, Mesopotamia, it’s likely they all knew Adam’s story and could have passed it along.
Hello Noah? This is Abraham
Only Noah, his three sons, and their wives survived the flood, but any of them could have talked with Abram. In fact Noah’s son Shem, still around when Abram’s son Isaac was born, actually out lived Abram. (Some say Shem was the one called Melchizedek in Genesis 14:18-20, the King of Salem to whom Abram paid a tithe on the spoil he had taken while rescuing Lot.)
The notion that the Creation story came from fables told by illiterate primitives around campfires at night just isn’t so. The chain of information from Creation to Abraham needed only 3 links; Adam, Enosh (Adam’s grandson) and Noah. It is no stretch of the imagination to conclude that Abram had heard about the Creator of the Universe through this chain and then sought Him out. You see, in those days there was great interest in the lessons of the past; the wisdom of the ages. (For more detail see From Adam To Abraham.)
What’s The Point?
Today in almost every field, great emphasis is placed on new thought. Nothing wrong with that per se, but in our quest for the “latest thing” are we losing our grounding in the wisdom of the ages?
Through out history, every society has relied on the wisdom of its elders to instruct the young, guaranteeing that its heritage would remain intact and that simple truths would not be lost. Because for the most part western society no longer venerates its elders and their wisdom, we live in a revisionist world, where even the past is becoming uncertain. (Was Columbus a good guy or a bad guy? Was the Holocaust real? Who was JFK?)
Many of life’s simple truths are no longer passed along, yet they have always been effective in building successful lives. They were first written down for us in the Bible, confirmed in the biographies of successful people, and documented by society’s observers. Here’s an example.
The Greatest Discovery Of Our Generation
That’s how the findings of author James Allen were described when his book “As A Man Thinketh “ was published in 1903. And what was his great discovery? The realization that “we can change our lives by changing our attitudes of mind.”
Ever since the study of human behavior had begun, psychologists had asserted that basic life patterns were not subject to change but were either genetically predisposed or were formed through a process called “environmental conditioning” that took place shortly after birth and, once complete, was irreversible. Allen had discovered that these patterns are not irreversible, but can be altered through conscious volition (choice).
Since then, an abundance of research has supported Allen’s conclusion. In fact it’s now common knowledge that many of the most successful people among us, in every field imaginable, were not only “destined” for failure; but were actually headed that way before achieving great success by making a conscious effort to change their behavior by changing the way they thought. So it appears James Allen was right. Today his book is called a timeless classic, and is still in print after 108 years. But was it really his discovery?
Paul The Behavioral Scientist
In about 60 AD The Apostle Paul wrote these words to the church at Ephesus; “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph 4:22-24) Earlier he had counseled the church at Rome not to conform to the patterns of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:2). Sound familiar?
So what was called the greatest discovery of our generation 100 years ago was known to Paul almost 1900 years earlier, and he had taught it to the early Church. In fact Paul knew every great truth having to do with what we now call personal growth and development and taught them all in his letters, calling them spiritual weapons with divine power to demolish strongholds (2 Cor. 10:3-5).
Let’s review some of them because they’re especially good for getting us through the difficult times we’re currently experiencing.
The Power of Positive Thinking (Positive Expectancy)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:4-7).
There’s a related tool here, sometimes called the theory of displacement. The human mind, with all it’s power, has one limitation. At the conscious level it can only focus on one thing at a time. Training our mind to focus on positive thoughts makes it impossible for negative thoughts to distract us. Here’s how Paul described it.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Phil 4:8).
Paul said God is working everything together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28) and Jesus promised to meet all our needs if we promise to seek His Kingdom (Matt. 6:31-33). Therefore no matter what happens in life believers have cause to rejoice and give thanks to God. By giving our concerns to Him in prayer we can rise above our circumstances and live in peace in spite of them. To avoid becoming discouraged in times of difficulty we should count our blessings, focus on the positive aspects of our life, and fill our mind with the promises of God. We live by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).
The Power Of A Personal Goal
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:13-14).
Our goal is to live each day in a manner pleasing to God, expressing our gratitude for the free gift of salvation, but we often fail to achieve it. Thankfully, God’s mercies are new every morning (Lament. 3:22-23). No matter how badly we stumbled yesterday, a simple prayer of confession wipes the slate clean and it’s like it never happened (1 John 1:9). Every day brings a fresh opportunity to live up to what we’ve already attained (Phil. 3:16) The past is past and we can’t do anything to change it. With God’s help we can forget past failures, focusing on the incredible future that awaits us as our motivation to keep trying.
The Power of Visualization
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Cor 4:17-18).
This world is temporary and is quickly coming to an end. It’s the next one that matters because it’s the permanent one. Regardless of what happens today, at its end we’ll be one day closer to a guaranteed inheritance that’s beyond human comprehension. A few hours of time and today is gone, but our inheritance is eternal and cannot be taken from us (John 10:27-30). We should stop worrying so much about this life, start thinking more about how great the next one will be, and visualize ourselves there. The Holy Spirit will help us.
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him, but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit (1 Cor. 2:8-10).
The Power of Affirmation or Self Talk
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength (Phil 4:12-13).
Blessed are we who’ve been given everything for we don’t have to worry about anything. Affirmations like this adaptation of the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-12) have been described as statements made in times of doubt that would otherwise be true. Bible verses make the best affirmations because we know they’re not just wishful thinking, they’re the promises of God. Paul knew that no matter what his earthly situation was, the Lord had given him the strength to endure and therefore he could always be content. Repeating Phil. 4:13 when we’re discouraged reminds us that promise is for us too.
When it came to behavioral psychology, Paul was greater than Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, B.F. Skinner, Abraham Maslow and all the others combined. When it came to motivational writing he topped Norman Vincent Peale, Robert Shuller, Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, and anyone else you can name. No wonder he started so many churches. No wonder he was so thoroughly despised by his enemies.
Why The Big Secret?
Today, these Biblical principles have been hijacked by secular humanists and even proponents of other “religions,” who deceitfully claim them as their own. They remove God from the equation, promoting the supremacy of the human spirit or the achievement of some kind of personal godhood instead. They often derive great fame and fortune from sharing their “secrets”, omitting any mention of their actual origin.
Out of Biblical ignorance, the Church largely ignores or even fears these truths. And yet, even with God out of the picture they’ve have helped bring great success to countless followers. How much more powerful would they be if we used them for the purpose God intended? How many defeated lives would be changed? How many oppressed and enslaved believers would be set free?
Whose Idea Was This Anyway?
But where did Paul get his knowledge; his understanding of motivational leadership? Listen to his own words: “I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:12).
Earlier Jesus had said, I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). Then He gave Paul the tools we need to make His claim a reality.
Clearly, the Lord intended for us to use these truths to escape the prison built for our mind by the experiences of our life. It’s with good reason the Bible is called the Owner’s Manual for the Human Race. This is truly the Wisdom of the Ages.
O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still. See how your enemies are astir, 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, that the name of Israel be 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, Gebal, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia, with the people of Tyre. Even Assyria has joined them to lend strength to the descendants of Lot.
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 refuse 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, O 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 so that men will seek your name, O LORD. 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.
This psalm speaks of the nations who border on Israel. At various times, they’ve tried to defeat the Jewish people and drive them from the Land God gave them. Although all their attempts in the past have been unsuccessful, it looks like they’re getting ready to try again. They still haven’t learned the painful lesson that comes from defying God’s promise to Abraham. “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.“ Once again Israel will defeat them, a testimony to the power of a promise from God.
Has God made promises to you? “Surely I am with you always,” He said, “Even to the end of the age (Matt 28:20). Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. But seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well (Matt. 6:25, 33). I tell you the truth it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away the Counselor will not come to you, but if I go I will send Him to you (John 16:7). And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am (John 14:3). Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth (Rev. 3:10).”
Each one of these is straight from the Lord’s mouth to our ears. Each is as clear as His promise to Abraham. “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday today and forever,” we’re told (Hebrews 13:8). God’s promise to Abraham carried no expiration date. Over 4,000 years later, nations who curse the descendants of Abraham still risk the wrath of God.
And it’s the same with His promises to us. As a shepherd’s first priority is protecting His sheep, so the Lord’s first priority is protecting us. It’s a sacred trust, placed with Him upon His descent to Earth.
“I have come down from Heaven not to do my own will,” He said, “But the will of Him Who sent me. And this is the will of Him Who sent me; that I shall lose none of all that He has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I shall raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:37-40)
Oh Lord, let the disposition of these ancient nations who sought to defy your promise to your chosen people serve to strengthen our faith in your promises to us today.
The Love of God and The Judgment of God
When the armies of Israel conquered the Promised Land, God commanded them to kill every living thing, including women and children. Could there be any possible justification for barbarism?
By: Gregory Koukl
One of the hardest questions confronting Christians defending the biblical record is, “How could a good God commission Israel to destroy women and children when they’re fighting their battles?”
This has happened more than once in the Bible. It’s difficult to explain the answer to this, though I think there are a couple of reflections on the issue that offer food for thought. You can approach this from a couple of different directions.
First one caveat. I fully acknowledge that not all good answers are going to be emotionally satisfying to a lot of people. That’s why this is a hard issue, because people let their emotional sensibilities rule instead of trying to see the bigger picture.
One way to approach the problem is to show that it’s a much bigger problem than first imagined. Curiously, I think this helps make the solution simpler. God’s command that Israel destroy women and children in battle is really just the tip of the iceberg.
What about when God slew the firstborn of Egypt? Many of these were women and children, some infants. Every plague on Egypt–the hail, the gnats, the frogs, the locust, the boils–fell on all Egyptians equally, not just upon the soldiers.
What about Sodom and Gomorra in which, with the exception of Lot and his family, every man woman and child was turned to cinder? Everyone was indiscriminately destroyed. The same thing happened in the Genesis flood. Only eight in the entire world survived. It’s interesting that I have never heard anyone raise the complaint “What about the women and children?” in these instances.
When you read the book of Revelation you’ll find this practice of God’s is not limited to the Old Testament. In the future, God will once again visit judgment upon the world and destroy not just the soldiers, but the women and children as well. I’ve never heard anyone raise an objection about that, but isn’t it the same problem, essentially?
The underlying question, “Is it right for Jews to kill women and children at God’s command?” can only be answered by answering another question: Can God legitimately judge and destroy the world or any portion of it or its inhabitants that He sees fit to destroy? Is this inside of God’s prerogatives or outside of it?
My answer is unequivocal: It is not evil for God to take life, because God is the Author of life. He can give it and He can take it away. That’s part of the prerogative of being God. All that He creates belongs to Him. This is His world. He needs no further justification, because He is not compelled by any law higher than Himself.
Second, our notion of the sovereignty of God entails that every detail of the world is under direct control of God. Nothing happens that He doesn’t either actively cause or passively allow. God did not create the universe, wind it up, then let it spin out its course without His involvement. Instead, regarding every nation of mankind on the face of the earth He has “determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation.” (Acts 17:26)
This means that since humans are mortal, there comes a time when every life God created “shuffles off its mortal coil” and returns to Him, either for ultimate judgment or for ultimate reward. God, the Giver and Taker of life, calls every life back to Him at some point and in some manner. The timing and the method of each person’s demise is somewhat incidental, from a moral perspective. It’s up to Him.
So I’m arguing first that it’s God’s prerogative to take life when He so chooses, and second that the means He uses to take that life is a matter of His prerogative as well. Whether it’s by disease, or mishap, or hailstones, or the angel of life, or the sword of a Jewish soldier, the means is up to Him. It’s His prerogative.
My third thought has to do with the question, “What did those women and children do? They were innocent.” I certainly understand the response and there is a sense in which on an emotional level I am troubled when I consider this. But there’s another aspect to keep in mind.
God deals with people not just as individuals, but as groups. When the nation of Israel is doing well as a nation, doesn’t He prosper the whole nation, even though there are individuals in the nation that are scoundrels? When the nation is doing well, generally speaking, God blesses the nation and everybody prospers.
However, the flip side is that when the nation is corrupt, then God judges the nation as a whole and everyone gets judged, even those remaining few that might be innocent. God is dealing with the nation as a group, for good and for ill. It works both ways.
This should not be a foreign concept to us, though we probably haven’t considered the connection between this biblical reality and modern day practices. When the President and Congress agree to go to war against another country, they act as federal heads of state and commit each and every American citizen to war against a foreign power. The nation is at war, not just our lawmakers.
And we all suffer alike in the process. We surrender our effort and our taxes and even our life blood, if necessary. We all participate, even though war wasn’t our idea. We acting as a unit, as a family, as a nation. And those we war against retaliate against us as a unit.
In the same way, when a nation rebels against God, it is not uncommon for God to go to war against that nation itself and not just against a few rebellious individuals. God takes up arms against the land and against every man, woman, and child.
Let’s keep this in perspective, though. In the case of the nations in question that were utterly destroyed by God, it isn’t a few citizens that imperiled the many. We know from Abraham’s appeal on behalf of Sodom and Gomorra that God will spare a whole city of sinners for the sake of a handful of
righteous people. Instead, there was a pattern of ongoing, thorough-going, and persistent moral rebellion against God that went on for years–in many cases, for generations–in spite of repeated warnings by God.
There’s a third thing. It pertains to the challenge, “If God were really good, how could He do such a thing? How could He destroy these innocent people? This is barbaric.” They take this record of God’s judgment as evidence that the God of the Bible isn’t really good at all, and therefore should not be believed in.
I approach it from a different direction. I think the preponderance of evidence from the same historical record–the Old Testament– is that God is good. He continually demonstrates not just his holiness, but also His patience and forbearance for those that consistently rebel against Him, though He has graciously cared for them.
This gives us good reason to trust Him. And if we have good reason to trust Him, then when we see things that seem to go against our sense of goodness and justice, it seems only fair to give the benefit of the doubt to God, who just might know something more than we know.
When we were children, our own parents acted in ways we didn’t understand. We didn’t think their decisions were fair. Later we learned that, for the most part, they had insight and information unavailable to us that influenced their decisions. Many times we learned that they were acting in our best interests after all, though we didn’t see it at the time.
These are the kind of things we discover as we grow up. We learn that our parents were right most of the times we thought they were off base. The same kind of hindsight is true with God. God may know a few things we don’t know.
By the way, the question has also been raised, “Why destroy the cattle, too?” My understanding is that in many of those cultures the people were so decadent they were having intercourse with animals. This caused rampant venereal disease in animals and humans that even infected children as well. So this may be– I’m not sure, but it may be– another reason God wanted these entire cultures wiped out. Because of their moral corruption, they were physically corrupt, and this represented a health threat to the new inhabitants of the land, the children of Israel.
Even if that wasn’t the case, as the Author of life God still has the right to take life according to His own judgment. I’ve given you three good reasons to help make sense of that. Whether it’s emotionally satisfying for you or not is another issue altogether.
This is a transcript of a commentary from the radio show “Stand to Reason,” with Gregory Koukl. It is made available to you at no charge through the faithful giving of those who support Stand to Reason. Reproduction permitted for non-commercial use only. ©1997 Gregory Koukl
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A week or so ago I was told that since I was against abortion I should be against the death penalty. Not necessarily so and I can stand before God for being pro-death penalty without fear of being disobedient to His Word on it. My post will show that both stances, pro- and anti-, are biblical. Its one of those situations where your heart cannot condemn you no matter your opinion on the matter so long as you believe with the right motive of pleasing God and valuing human life.
Here is why I can be pro-death penalty:
God was the first to set up the death penalty.
After the worldwide flood of Noah’s time, God put safeguards in place against human violence. Of prime importance was the death penalty: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man”(Genesis 9:6).
If a human or an animal killed a human, the killer was to be put to death (Genesis 9:5). This was because of the sacredness of human life. God created humans in His image, so murdering another human meant you would forfeit your own life.
Interestingly, God has never revoked the death penalty. Jesus said He did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfil it (Matthew 5:17). And the Apostle Paul preached about the government’s right to invoke capital punishment on evildoers (Romans 13:1-5).
What if an innocent person is wrongly sentenced to death?
Well, there is no more famous case of an innocent person’s being condemned to death than when God’s own Son, Jesus Christ, endured an unjust trial on trumped-up charges, suffered, and died on a wooden cross. Yet God did not intervene. The need for justice is so strong that it seems He is willing to put up with an occasional wrong conviction rather than remove the death penalty.
But God is also merciful. He often shows charity and mercy when the death penalty is due. David committed murder, yet God did not take his life. In John chapter 8 we read that the scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman caught in adultery, and asked Him whether she should be stoned to death, as the Law of Moses required. Jesus said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” They all left.
God allows governments to impose the death penalty. We should all be aware that if we do wrong in a country that allows the death penalty, we must be ready for the punishment.
Those who say the death penalty isn’t a deterrent to crime miss the point. The penalty is not chiefly to deter others, but to punish and remove from society the one who would perpetrate such serious crimes. (bold mine)
Ah, but my trust in the judicial system took another hit (the first one being the Casey Anthony acquittal in the death of her toddler, Caylee) when Troy Davis was executed by the state of Georgia. Whether the man was guilty of shooting the officer or not, the witnesses recanted their stories. That, in itself, should have changed his sentence to life in prison. I read about the case and, in my opinion, the evidence didn’t line up with the witnesses’ testimony 20 years ago so the death penalty should never have been the sentence. Sadly, its too late for Troy Davis now.
This brought me to a crossroad. On the one hand, I am pro-death penalty because of the value of the human life that is taken in murder. I feel I would be betraying God and that lost life to be against the ultimate penalty. I do have my own standards on how it should be a consideration for punishment, that being that there must be an eyewitness with evidence to back it up. If there’s no evidence to back up the eyewitness account, or, there’s evidence but no eyewitness, then the death penalty should not be put on the table. On the other hand, there is too much potential for the innocent to be executed. That innocent person’s life has a sacred value, too. Plus, executing the wrong person brings no true justice for the victim’s family, but instead creates two grieving families in need of justice.
Then I received an e-newsletter from one of my favorite bible teachers, Jack Kelley, from Grace Thru Faith. The question was asked of him concerning a Christian’s view of capital punishment. That led to his other article on the same question but with a bit longer of an explanation. Both are short reads so I will link to both of them. Let me share the part that caught my attention:
In Genesis 9:5-6 the concept of capital punishment was introduced. But I don’t believe it was ever intended for a godless government to administer it. Originally it was the victim’s next of kin who exacted the penalty with an an appeal process to prevent abuse. You can see the problem that comes up when God is left out of the equation in the case of Jesus. Two legally established but Godless national governments agreed together to execute the Creator of the Universe.
Today in the US, whether a person accused of a capital crime is executed or not depends more on his wealth than his guilt or innocence. An innocent poor person is much more likely to be executed than a wealthy guilty one. We can only fight for reform and depend on God’s promise that He’ll hold our leaders accountable for their actions. (bold mine)
Our nation is not a Christian nation as much as the fundamentalist right wingers would like to think it is. It is not a theocracy. This means that it has the potential to become more godless than godlier. And, for the most part, it has become more godless. In a society that does not fear God there is no true reverence for human life. Those who sell can easily cheat the buyers without flinching. One can easily call abortion a needful thing and not the murder that it is when done as a method of birth control. If a nation is not apalled by the murderous business of abortion where the women are deceived in pro-abortion counceling so a buck can be made, then what’s an innocent life on death row? Yes, I went to the extreme here but how long will it be when its the norm? Where there is no fear of God the people cast off restraint. Why cry out for justice when there is no God to fear? The fear of man doesn’t motivate since we each declare our own goodness when there is no God who is the very essense of good in our midst. With no God to fear, the Supremes of Georgia allowed for Troy Davis’ execution despite the doubt created by the recanting witnesses.
So, in my opinion, and I believe I can stand before God in this, is that the death penalty needs to be removed from consideration in our nation as a form of punishment. Let’s not put the fate of a person’s life in the hands of godless political leaders, judges and state Supremes. Let’s side with mercy and not leave open the potential for an irreversible mistake that results not in justice but in a murder by the state’s means of lethal injection. Even one innocent person put to death is one too many and with Troy Davis’ execution, Georgia has exceeded that number.
However, if it remains the law of the land then I will be for it when it meets my criteria for when it should be applied. God brought it about due to the serious value He has placed on human life and I have no qualms about being for it for that very reason. There is an appeals process in place and the families of both victim and defendant are considered which is a good thing.
There are those in our society today that attempt to defend the rights of the unborn child by practicing civil disobedience. These Pro-Lifers claim to be Christians carrying out the will of God. However, many of their actions and words seem to be in direct conflict with the Word of God.
The Bible is very clear on the subject when it proclaims, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authorities is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment upon themselves” (Romans 13:1-2 NIV).
As Christians we must obey the “Laws of the Land.” Ours is NOT a Christian nation, it never was and never will be. We can expect that it will pass laws in keeping with the wishes of the majority of the people who are unsaved. We have laws that make pornography, gambling, drinking, homosexuality, and abortion legal. These are valid “laws” of the land and anyone who would want to change these laws must also stay within the law. For example, it is legal in this country to demonstrate against certain practices and laws. However, one must be sure to follow the prescribed “laws of demonstration.”
We as Christians have no right to “break” the law in order to protest against the law. In fact, we are only authorized to disregard man’s law when it requires that “WE” must break God’s Law. For example, if a country would pass a law stating that families could not have more that two children and if any woman was “caught” pregnant with a third child then she must have an abortion, then as Christians, we can disobey that law (Acts 4:18- 20). But when we disobey this man made law, then we can fully expect to pay the consequences. If man said it was illegal to share the Gospel of Christ in this country, then as Christians we must violate that decree and “spread the Good News,” but we must be prepared to go to prison for “breaking the law,” as the Apostles themselves did.
The current law regarding abortion is wicked but legal. It does not require anyone to have an abortion, but only protects the right of the woman (at the expense of the child’s rights) to have an abortion if she wants to. Christians have no right to break the law in trying to stop the abortions. They must “stay within the law” while demonstrating their protests.
Here is what I believe are some of the causes of the illegal protests:
1. Most of the demonstrators are not Christians.
This is evident in the very fact that they are lawbreakers. Notice how much of the protests lack the element of Love. God says that we must speak the truth in Love. What a poor testimony of Christianity when protesters scream hateful remarks to the doctors, nurses and patients involved in the abortions. Many, if not most of the protesters, would probably claim that they are Christians, but are in reality from the Christian Cult variety, i.e., Catholics, Mormons, JWs, Christian Science, etc. They are blind to the real truths of God’s Word and are being used by the evil one to bring disrespect to true Christianity. (my note here: while this may be true for the author concerning the “Christian Cult variety,” I haven’t had this experience with them. Those from the listed group have been most compassionate.)
2. Some of the protesters are truly Christians who are simply committing sin.
They have not been taught what obedience to the authorities is all about. For example, most Christians today do not consider willfully “driving over the speed limit” as disobedience to authority and therefore sin. They see the 55 mph signs and go 60 or 63 because they know they can “get away” with it. This is basically the same sin as illegal protests. I have been in many Evangelical Churches that actually joke about speeding or laugh when someone “gets a ticket.”
What should a Christian do about the sin of abortion?
1. Pray for the doctors, nurses, mother and father of the unborn child, and any one else involved in the abortion decision and process. Pray that they would become convicted of the sin of murder–the murdering of an innocent child within the God designed safety and security of their mother’s womb. Pray that they would all beg for mercy and forgiveness from Christ and find His forgiveness and eternal life in Him. Pray that if they refuse to repent of their sins of murder and bow the knee before the Lord Jesus Christ, that they would truly “…be tormented by the guilt of murder [and] will be a fugitive till death…” [Proverbs 28:17]
2. If you must protest publicly then do it legally and in love. Get a permit for a demonstration and be sure all signs and statements are in perfect Christian love. Be sure to avoid including the non-Christian in your “group” for they do not have the Spirit of God within them to guide and control their actions.
God tells His children to do everything without arguing and complaining, and I believe that applies to the subject at hand. We must be sure that our society will not see Christians as those who want to argue and complain about the government, but rather as loving, concerned Americans who care very deeply about the life of the unborn child, and the spiritual lives of the doctors, nurses, and the parents of the aborted children. God will honor us when we honor Him.
Added to Bible Bulletin Board’s “Sermons and Articles Collection” by:
“So long as the gospel of Christ is maintained without adulteration, it is found sufficient for every valuable purpose; but when the wisdom of man is permitted to add to the perfect work of God, a wide door is opened for innumerable mischiefs.”
(from “John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace” pg 203)
The Mighty Magnet
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (John 12:32)
Come, ye workers, be encouraged. You fear that you cannot draw a congregation. Try the preaching of a crucified, risen, and ascended Savior; for this is the greatest “draw” that was ever yet manifested among men. What drew you to Christ but Christ? What draws you to Him now but His own blessed self? If you have been drawn to religion by anything else, you will soon be drawn away from it; but Jesus has held you and will hold you even to the end. Why, then, doubt His power to draw other? Go with the name of Jesus to those who have hitherto been stubborn and see if it does not draw them.
No sort of man is beyond this drawing power. Old and young, rich and poor, ignorant and learned, depraved or amiable–all men shall feel the attractive force. Jesus is the one magnet. Let us not think of any other. Music will not draw to Jesus; neither will eloquence, logic, ceremonial, or noise. Jesus Himself must draw men to Himself; and Jesus is quite equal to the work in every case. Be not tempted by the quackeries of the day; but as workers for the Lord work in His own way, and draw with the Lord’s own cords. Draw to Christ, and draw by Christ, for then Christ will draw by you.