Thursday, May 26, 2011

Netanyahu - Modern Day Nehemiah?

And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah.
They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon [Neh. 4:16-17].

Nehemiah would face much opposition to the task God had given him. In fact, there would be those who wanted the building stopped. Those who opposed the Jews would even resort to killing the workers. Nehemiah prepared his workers to both rebuild the walls and streets of the city and to protect themselves from the attacks.It is interesting to see how God defended israel from their enemies.  Each builder had a trowel in one hand with which to build, and in the other hand he carried a sword with which to defend himself. These two weapons or instruments should be in the hands of believers today.
  • The trowel represents the fact that believers should build themselves up in the most holy faith. That is for the inside.
  • The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God with which we defend ourselves. We need the trowel in one hand and the sword in the other.
What happened about 2,500 years ago is parallel to what is going on in the modern-day Jewish state of Israel now. It is just like you are reading out of the local Israeli newspaper reporting on a normal life in the Middle East. Today, we are seeing half of the people are building a nation with one hand while the other half are protecting all Jews from total destruction.

We also see a great statement is used as an exhortation to the Jewish people then - and now. "Our God shall fight for us", found in verse 20, is a reminder to the Jewish people of who they are and what the God of heaven will do for them. They are the "Sons of Jacob", the one who had his name changed to "Israel" which literally means, "my God will fight for you".

Israel, today, have at least 350 million Arabs and Muslims living around them, and their one aim to to see the destruction of the Jewish nation. a country the size of New-Jersey with less than 1/1000th of the world's population, 

The only way the Jews will sustain existence is by God fighting for them, which He has done for about 4,000 years. That in and of itself is proof of the reality of a true, all- powerful, holy God who will indeed continue to fight for His "chosen people", the Jewish people.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Who Do You Worship

Psalms 29:1-3 (KJV)

  • 1 Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength. 
  • 2 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. 
  • 3 The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters.

Have you ever heard any of these sayings. "I didn’t get anything out of that today.” “I didn’t get anything out of the sermon.” “I didn’t get anything out of that service.” “I guess her song was all right, but I didn’t get anything out of it.”

Sound familiar? Not only have I heard it countless times over these nearly fifty years in the ministry, I probably have said it a few times myself. This is like dry rot in a congregation; like a termite infestation in the building; like an epidemic afflicting the people of the Lord, one which we seem helpless to stop.

It seems that we have forgotten what worship is all about. Worship is not about you and me. It’s not about “getting our needs met.” It’s not about a performance from the pastor and singer and choir and musicians—not in the least.

When we come into God's presence, we are suppose to give, not  get. We are giving glory to God, not to man. We know that. At least we say we do. How many times have we recited, “...for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory”? And how often have we sung, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow” in a Sunday service?

We do so because glory is His right. He is worthy of worship. This is the theme of the final book of the Bible. “Who is worthy?” (Rev. 5:2) “You are worthy...for you were slain, and have redeemed us” (Rev. 5:9). “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain” (Rev. 5:12).

If my focus is on myself when I enter the church—getting my needs met, learning something, hearing a lesson that blesses me, being lifted by the singing—then Christ has no part in it. He becomes my servant, and the pastor (with all the other so-called performers) is there only for me. It’s all about me.

We have strayed so far from the biblical concept of worship—giving God His due in all the ways He has commanded—.

Evangelism, Discipleship, Giving, and Praying Grow out of Worship.
  • The disciples were worshiping on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit filled them and drove them into the streets to bear a witness to the living Christ (Acts 2). 
  • Isaiah was in the Temple worshiping when God appeared to him, forgave his sins, and called him as a prophet to the people (Isaiah 6). 
  • It was in the act of worship that the two distraught disciples had their eyes opened to recognize Jesus at their table (Luke 24).

“Give to the Lord the glory due His name and bring an offering.” So command 1 Chronicles 16:29 and Psalm 96:8. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart—these, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). Singing, praise, rejoicing, praying, offering, humbling, loving—all these are commanded in worship at various places in Scripture.

The Lord Jesus told the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, “Those who worship God must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). That is, with their inner being, the totality of themselves, their spirit, not just their lips or their bodies going through the motions, and in truth—the revealed truth of how God has prescribed worship to take place. He is not pleased with “just anything” that we claim as worship. We must balance our worship between spirit (the subjective part: body, soul, emotions) and truth (the objective aspect: all that God has revealed in His word).

Worship Is a Verb, and it’s an active verb at that. Worship is something we do, not something done to us.

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Is it possible to know when Jesus is coming back?"

Matthew 24:34-44 (KJV) 
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 

At first glance, these verses would seem to provide a clear and explicit answer to the question. No, no one can know when Jesus is coming back. However, those verses do not say that no one will ever be able to know when Jesus will return. Most Bible scholars would say that Jesus, now glorified in Heaven, knows the timing of His return, indicating that the phrase nor the Son does not mean Jesus will never know when He will return. Similarly, it is possible that, while Matthew 24:36-44 indicates that no one at that time could know the timing of Jesus return, God could reveal the timing of Jesus return to someone in the future.

In addition, there is Acts 1:7, which states, "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority." This was said by Jesus after the disciples asked Him if He was at that time going to restore the kingdom to Israel. This would seem to confirm the message of Matthew 24. It is not for us to know the timing of Jesus coming back. But, there is also the question of to which return these passages are referring. Are they speaking of the rapture or the second coming? Which return is unknowable the rapture, the second coming, or both? While the rapture is presented as being imminent and mysterious, the timing of the second coming could potentially be pinpointed based on end-times prophecy.

Let me be abundantly clear: I do not believe that God has revealed to anyone when Jesus is coming back, and we see nothing in Scripture which indicates that God will ever reveal to anyone when Jesus is coming back. Matthew 24:36-44, while spoken directly to the people in Jesus time, also contains a principle. The timing of Jesus return and the end of the age is not for us to know. Scripture nowhere encourages us to try to determine the date. Rather, we are to keep watch, because we do not know on which day our Lord will come (v. 42). We are to be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when we do not expect Him (v. 44). The force of Jesus words diminishes if at some point in the future someone will be able to determine when Jesus is coming back. If the date is discovered, we no longer need to keep watch or be ready until the date is approaching. So, with the principle of Matthew 24:36-44 is mind, no, it is not possible for anyone to know the date that Jesus is coming back.

Despite this clear biblical principle, many throughout Christian history have attempted to prophesy the date that Jesus is coming back. Many such dates have been proposed, and all of them have been wrong. 

Today, there are two popular proposed dates: May 21, 2011, and December 21, 2012. The December 21, 2012, date is related to the Mayan calendar, with no biblical data used as evidence. The May 21, 2011, date is proposed by Harold Camping of Family Radio. It should be noted that Harold Camping previously predicted that Jesus would come back in 1994. Obviously, Camping was wrong. This should give us yet another reason to doubt the validity of his prediction of May 21, 2011. Camping, does, however, claim to find evidence for the May 21, 2011, date in Scripture. By using a speculative date of 4990 B.C. for the Flood, and then applying the with the Lord one day is as a thousand years of 2 Peter 3:8 to the seven days of Genesis 7:4, and then counting down the 7000 years from 4990, the year 2011 results. Then, based on the seventeenth day of the second month from Genesis 7:11 and using the Hebrew calendar, the date of May 21 is determined. So, is there any validity to Campings methodology?

First, Camping conveniently ignores the second half of 2 Peter 3:8, and a thousand years as one day. Further, 2 Peter 3:8 is not providing a method for dating the end times. Rather, 2 Peter 3:8 is simply saying that God is above and beyond time. God is timeless, infinite, and eternal. 

Second, nothing in the context of Genesis 7:4-11 indicates that the seven days and seventeenth day of the second month are to be interpreted as applying to anything other than what God was specifically saying to Noah. 

Third, the Flood being dated to 4990 B.C. is speculative at best, with no explicit biblical evidence. Campings calculation of May 21, 2011, falls apart with even the most basic biblical scrutiny. Now, is it possible that Jesus is coming back on May 21, 2011? Yes, but it is just as possible that He will come back on any other date. Does Harold Campings particular dating methodology have any biblical validity? No, it does not. Assuming that Jesus does not return on or before May 21, 2011, Camping and others will surely calculate new future dates and will attempt to explain away mistakes by errors in the formula or something to that effect.

The key points are: 
(1) the Bible nowhere encourages us to attempt to discover the timing of Jesus return, and 
(2) the Bible gives no explicit data by which the timing of Jesus return can be determined. 

Rather than developing wild and speculative calculations to determine when Jesus is coming back, the Bible encourages us to keep watch and be ready (Matthew 24:42-44). The fact that the day of Jesus return is unknown is what should motivate us to live every day in light of the imminence of Christs return.

We don't need to be looking for a "way" out, but, instead, showing those who do not know Jesus as their  personal Savior, how to get to Heaven. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Egypt In Bible Prophecy

Many foreign policy experts believe that the radical organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood will gain great influence with a change of government in Egypt.

This secretive group has had many Western observers uneasy for years. The Brotherhood was founded in 1928 in Egypt, with the goal of spreading Islamic sharia law worldwide and uniting all Muslim nations into one Islamic super-state.
Before Osama bin Laden formed al Qaeda, he belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood. So did his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

The terror group Hamas also identifies itself as the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestinian branch.
Why is there such a draw to the Brotherhood? the group's official motto may tell the story. It reads:
  • Allah is our objective.
  • The prophet is our leader.
  • Qur'an is our law.
  • Jihad is our way.
  • Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.

The Brotherhood was eventually banned in Egypt, but for the past several decades has worked behind the scenes to the point where it's now considered the most influential Islamist organization in the world, with chapters in more than 100 countries.

The group's immediate goal is an Islamic state in Egypt and an end to that country's peace treaty with Israel.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Is The Age of America Nearing An End?

There are "things" happening every day, and sometimes, before you can't get your thoughts together, something else happens.

There was the royal wedding last week, and within the next two day you could watch it's re-run on the hour, every hour, anytime you wanted .

That would have most likely still be on had it not been for the "death" of Osama Bin Laden.

But there was something else that didn't seem to make the headlines

There was an article by Brett Arends, in MarketWatch that caught my eye — The International Monetary Fund has just dropped a bombshell, and nobody noticed.

For the first time, the international organization has set a date for the moment when the “Age of America” will end and the U.S. economy will be overtaken by that of China.

According to the latest IMF official forecasts, China's economy will surpass that of America in real terms in 2016 — just five years from now. 

More China news: U.S., China to hold economic talks in early May, Shanghai hit by tightening, China 2011 trade surplus may shrink to 2% of GDP

According to the IMF forecast, which was quietly posted on the Fund’s website just two weeks ago, whoever is elected U.S. president next year — Obama? Mitt Romney? Donald Trump? — will be the last to preside over the world’s largest economy.

The sad fact is that most people aren’t prepared for this. They aren’t even aware it’s that close. China’s economy will be the world’s largest within five years or so.

Just 10 years ago, the U.S. economy was three times the size of China’s.

Naturally, all forecasts are fallible. Time and chance happen to them all. The actual date when China surpasses the U.S. might come even earlier than the IMF predicts, or somewhat later. 

We have lived in a world dominated by the U.S. for so long that there is no longer anyone alive who remembers anything else. America overtook Great Britain as the world’s leading economic power in the 1890s and never looked back.

And both those countries live under very similar rules of constitutional government, respect for civil liberties and the rights of property. China has none of those. The Age of China will feel very different.

When you look at Bible prophecy, you realize that there has to be a change in the "world players" for the rapture and the Tribulation Period to take place. We have never lived in a day as we are at the present. Many people are hiding their heads in the sand and hoping that it will all go away, or that this is some terrible dream.

We are living in the last days, there is no doubt about it. Are you ready? You will spend eternity in one of two places. The choice will be your's!