Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Why Should Christians Care About Israel?

Israel is a tiny country about the size of the American state of New Jersey, and therefore, it seems quite puzzling that we hear about Israel in the news to such a disproportionate extent. Whether it’s the “peace process”, the “settlements”, or the latest war or terrorist attack, Israel is in the headlines more than almost any other nation. How do we explain the attention that the world media gives to this little speck of land in a sea of hostile Islamic nations?

Some of Israel’s enemies would say that the excessive focus on Israel stems from the Jewish state’s supposed oppression of the Palestinians, while some of its supporters would claim that the cause is knee-jerk anti-Semitism, or irrational hatred of Jews. While we can examine the issue from many different angles, we would be remiss if we ignored the ancient roots of Israel, as well as the roots of Christianity, a religion that arose based on the teachings of a Jew who was born in Bethlehem, in the biblical heartland of Israel.

Israel is a hotspot because Israel is the cradle of Western civilization, otherwise known as Judeo-Christian civilization. Its roots are in the Bible, the international best-seller, and within its covers we find the values that have made that civilization the world leader, at least until recently. The concepts of “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “Thou shalt not murder” are just a couple of the values that Jews and Christians alike hold as the ideal. In addition, God makes it clear where He stands on marital fidelity, honesty, and humility. All of those biblical commandments speak of societal standards and relationships, but there are also national guidelines that bind us no less, specifically referring to the nation and land of Israel.

“Every place where the sole of your foot will tread shall be yours, from the wilderness and the Lebanon, from the river, the Euphrates River, until the western sea (the Mediterranean) shall be your border.” (Deuteronomy 11:24)

These geographic guidelines, which recur in similar wording throughout the Bible, are referred to often as an “eternal inheritance”. For those of us who do not consider the Bible to be a primitive book for superstitious cavemen, the ramifications of these words for the current conflicts between Israel and its neighbors are quite extensive, and cannot be ignored by anyone who considers God’s instructions to be eternal.

Are these guidelines only for Israel, only for the Jewish people? Or could there perhaps be a lesson in there for Christians, as well? The founding father of Israel, Abraham, was given clear instructions of the nature of Israel’s relationships with the nations and the nations’ relationships with Israel.

“I will bless those that bless you and him that curse you, I will curse; and all the families of the earth shall bless themselves through you.” (Genesis 12:3)

The blessings for the nations go through Israel, so the national and international instructions concerning Israel are relevant to all the nations of the world, which of course includes all Christians. The events in the land of Israel today and in the Middle East, as well, demand that Israel be “a light unto the nations”, but they also demand the active involvement of Christians.

The prophet Jeremiah, who lived at the time of the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem, spoke about what would be happening today, as much of Israel rebuilds its biblical heartland amid internal dissension, as well as over the fierce objections of the world. Should Christians be involved in that process? The answer is an emphatic, “Yes!”

“I shall yet rebuild you and you shall be rebuilt, O’ Maiden of Israel; you will yet adorn yourself in drums and go forth in the dance of merrymakers. You will yet plant vineyards in the mountains of Samaria, the planters will plant and redeem. For there will come a day when watchmen will call out on Mt. Ephraim, “Arise let us ascend to Zion, to the Lord our God.” (Jeremiah 31:3-5)

In the original Hebrew of the Bible, the word for watchmen is “notzrim”, which in modern Hebrew means “Christians”. However, one interprets the modern usage of an ancient word; the message here seems clear as day. Christians are expected to be playing an active role in supporting the rebuilding of Israel in these difficult times. It is indeed a privilege – to be a watchman on behalf of God’s land and Israel’s prophetic return to its biblical heartland “in the mountains of Samaria”.

David Rubin, former Mayor of Shiloh, Israel, is Founder and President of the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund, www.ShilohIsraelChildren.org , established after he and his three-year-old son were wounded in a terrorist shooting attack. He is the author of three books, including his new book, Peace for Peace: Israel in the New Middle East, easily available on Amazon.com or at the websitewww.DavidRubinIsrael.com

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Current Day Picture of Merged Christianity

We live in an age of mega-mergers — a fraternization frenzy at every level. Across the globe, large corporations have been swallowing each other up like fish, becoming ever larger and far-reaching. In geo-political circles, the forces of globalism and globalization are driving world-wide union. We see countries entering into various alliances as they join and expand organizations such as NATO, the World Trade Organization and many other associations too numerous to mention. They are all mergers of convenience and opportunity, driven by motives of power, peace and prosperity. Not a single appeal is made to the statues of the God of the Bible.

Even more worrisome mergers are underway — namely, the increased combining and mixing of church and state, Christianity and paganism (ecumenicism), and the bringing together of Mammon and the Kingdom of God by various church groups. All of the merger activity mentioned — all driven by a quest for influence and prosperity — has geared up to hyper-speed in our time. The price? Compromise, rampant deceit, increasing economic danger, and the abandonment of the Truth.

What will be the outcome for the world? Will a remnant of a faithful Church be preserved? The Bible tells of a similar era — that of Omri, King of Israel and his dynasty. Of all the kings of Israel, he was the exemplar of tolerance and geo-political fraternizing. It is illuminating to study the practices of this man and his descendant kings, Ahab, Ahaziah and Joram. Omri’s dynasty provides key lessons that speak to our endtime world. It points to an endtime globalism … as well as the fate of the remnant.

The Omri Dynasty
King Omri was the most influential king of the northern kingdom of Israel. It would be difficult to discern this from the Bible alone without careful study. As only 13 verses (1 Kings16:16-28) recount the history of this man, it would be easy to overlook his significance. Unusually, no direct mention is even made of his reign in the books of Chronicles, apart from referring to his son, Ahab, and grandsons Ahaziah and Joram. The only Biblical indication we get of the repute of his legacy is found in Micah 6:16. Though Omri was only king overIsrael for approximately 12 years, his reputation and systems endured for generations. In fact, so much so, that Israel for many years after his reign was known as “mat bit-Humri” (The House of Omri) by the Assyrians and the Edomites. His son Ahab carried on his practices and “did evil” in the sight of the Lord as did his sons Ahaziah and then Joram. (1 Kings 16:25, 33, 1 Kings 22:25, 52, 2 Kings 3:2)

The Prophet Micah prophesied against the worship centres of Israel and Judah —Samariaand Jerusalem, respectively. Specifically, he accused them saying, “You have observed the statutes of Omri and all the practices of Ahab's house, and you have followed their traditions.” (Micah 6:16) Micah disapproved of three things: Omri’s statutes, Ahab’s practices, and their traditions. Other Bible translations refer to 1. statutes (KJV, NIV and most others); 2. works (KJV, NASB), and; 3. devices (NASB) or counsels (AMP). Just what were these statutes, practices and traditions?

Scripture provides some indication of the policies of the Omri Dynasty, especially as we study the reign of Ahab. But first a brief history about Omri. He became King of Israel following the murder of King Elah by Zimri, a fellow army captain who had usurped the throne. Omri, backed by popular public opinion, overthrew Zimri, ending his reign after only seven days. After he consolidated his position as undisputed king, he reigned 12 years.

Scripture has more to say about Ahab and his sons. We can learn the ways of the House of Omri by observing what they did. Actually, we will learn that Ahab’s practices and devices would nominate him today has one of the most masterful of global statesmen.

The Techniques of the House of Omri
The Bible reveals much of Ahab’s’ reign, the most powerful of Omri’s descendants. He was a master politician and crafty in foreign affairs. He knew how to swing the consensus of public opinion in his favor. He influenced, cajoled and manipulated the elders of his inner council, false prophets and other foreign rulers to his ends. He knew how to play his opponents. The account of how he dealt with Ben-Haddad, the Syrian king, is a masterpiece of cunning foreign affairs.

He entered a strategic alliance with Ethbaal, King of Tyre, by marrying his daughter, Jezebel. By the standards of today’s global politicians, this was a brilliant maneuver. In effect, he joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in order to secure a favorable trade status with this rich, world trading empire of the Phoenicians. The spiritual and religious implications were not regarded, however. Materialism was of primary importance; economic security his aim.

Here we see that material prosperity was linked with issues of human rights and morality. These issues played second fiddle to the uppermost goals of prosperity and indulgence. After finally defeating Ben-Haddad, this Syrian king won clemency from Ahab by allowingIsrael to set-up shop in the marketplaces of Damascus. Again, we see a materialistic mind-set ruling his policies. Through an unnamed prophet, God rebuked Ahab for allowing Ben-Haddad to live.

Apparently, indulgence was another practice of Ahab. He built a beautiful palace inlaid with ivory (1 Kings 22:39) and loved the good life, so much so that he even allowed Naboth’s vineyard to be expropriated just so that he could have a private garden.

As a result of his union with Jezebel, massive paganism engulfed Israel. Jezebel introduced the worship of Baal to Israel. As part of the alliance, King Ahab even built a temple to Baal inSamaria for his wife. In time, her lobbying for “freedom of worship” ended up as a massive campaign against God and the persecution of his prophets. She killed off any prophet that she could find.

Apparently, Jezebel’s policies were acceptable to Ahab. No mention is made otherwise. Had he protested, he may have offended his foreign counterparts and perhaps jeopardized the status of his foreign emissaries abroad. His was a policy of tolerance. Any belief or value system was allowed … in fact, was even sanctioned by his regime. Scripture records that Baal worship, Ashtoreth and the gods of the Amorites (1 Kings 22:25) were given rightful footing in the land.

Ahab was intolerant in only one respect: He opposed anyone that confronted him with correction or anyone that burst his bubble of humanistic optimism. Therefore, he hated Elijah and Micaiah, prophets of God. He accused them of pessimism, declaring that they never had anything good to say about him. It didn’t matter that they spoke truth and eternal consequences.

There are many more characteristics of the House of Omri that we could examine. Suffice it to conclude that Omri and his descendants were worldly rulers. Their policies were motivated by peace and prosperity. They pursued these goals in any way they thought best. Spiritual matters, purity of faith, the truth and imperatives of God’s word did not figure in the formation of their policies and statutes.

Reviewing the character of all of his actions (48 of which are recorded in scripture) the list is long. Interpreting Ahab’s practices, we can include: tolerance, indulgence, craftiness, politicization, self-centeredness, expropriation, optimism about the works of man, laissez faire policies, opportunism, ruling by consensus and worldly consultation … and the list could go on. As mentioned, he would be a successful global statesman today in the halls of the United Nations or around the conference tables of NATO or any other number of global policy and transnational organizations.

The House of Omri practiced the exact reverse of all of the godly kings of Judah (though not all proved to be such in this sister nation). The latter group feared God first, generally walking without compromise in the ways of David. Everything else — peace and prosperity, for example — were added unto them as a consequence. These were not the initial motivations of their obedience to God. As scripture counsels, ”But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, said virtually the same thing to Ahab, “First seek the counsel of Lord.” (1 Kings 22:15)

The Statutes of Man
Just what was the nature of the statutes of Omri? Consider these facts about him and his descendants:

Omri was the 6th king of Israel. He ruled from Tirzah 6 years and another 6 years from the city of Samaria. He is recorded of doing or performing exactly 6 things. His name is mentioned exactly 12 times (which is a multiple of 6) in the historical accounts of the kings ofIsrael and Judah (1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles — 2 times 6). He reigned for 12 years (2 times 6). His dynasty lasted 48 years (6 times 8).

Six is the number of man as God created him on the sixth day. However, the prevalence of this number with Omri doesn’t stop here. Ahab, his son, whose name means “his father’s brother” did more evil in the sight of the Lord than all the kings of Israel before him — more than 6 kings combined. (1 Kings 16:33) He represents the very epitome of the works of man, as we have reviewed.

Ahab is recorded taking 48 actions (6 times 8), eight times more than his father. Moreover, after Omri’s dynasty ended, the House of Israel continued to walk in his statutes for another 120 years (6 times 20) until Samaria fell to the Assyrians. It just was prior to that time that Micah gave his prophecy that was quoted earlier. (Micah 6:16) Amazingly, the prophecy indicting Omri’s statutes was the 6th of the 7 he spoke.

Could all these sixes and multiples of 6 be a coincidence? Perhaps. However, I take this pattern to be significant as every “jot and tittle” of scripture (Matthew 5:18) is important and to be studied. While I certainly ascribe to the Historical-Grammatical method of the interpretation of Scripture (“p’shat” as the Hebrew scholars call this form), we should not overlook other forms of meaning. So long as the literal plain-sense form of any meaning in the Bible is not overturned, we can also avail ourselves of other communications that the Holy Spirit intended, namely “remez” (hints), “drash” (a form of allegory) and, very carefully, even “sod” (such things as patterns, numbers … etc.)

Returning to Omri’s dynasty, clearly, his statues, the practices of Ahab, and their traditions are those of man. The measures and tests of their policies were “materialism” and “humanism.” Any religion was something to barter with … to tolerate, to accommodate. On the other hand, the God of Jacob was only consulted when there was no other human option available or His pronouncements through his prophets were in alignment with their wants. National prestige, strategic foreign policy, dialogue and arrangements of convenience were the rule of the day. The statutes of God were either bent or discarded.

We shouldn’t be surprised to learn that all of the statutes, practices and traditions of the House of Omri are playing out across the globe today in high form. They are today endorsed as sophisticated doctrines of foreign affairs and the conferences of men. Everything is merging — countries, economies and religions — within and all together. The efficacy of their policies is measured in terms of prosperity, wealth and economic power.

Current Day Picture of Merged Christianity
To illustrate how the merging of religions and foreign policy is occurring in our time, we can take a brief glimpse at what originally occurred in Iraq several years ago. While in the beginning the operations in Iraq were more about retaliating against Islamist terrorists, somewhere along the way it turned into a “religious” campaign, perhaps even an economic one. The mission became one of spreading doctrines of the “spirit of capitalism”, democracy, and Mammonism. Many of these policies and statues are being widely endorsed by church leaders. Most Muslims recognize these measures for what they are — the “values” of the supposed Christian West.

Actually, if anything, in Iraq’s case such “values” were being more imposed rather than proposed, reflecting an attitude not much different that of the Crusaders of the Middle Ages or the Caliphate of Saladin, who’s armies converted nations to Islam at the end of a sword. Specifically, even secular intelligence agencies have recognized the idealism that had been driving the campaigns in Iraq (also Afghanistan). Says Stratfor, an influential, non-partisan commentator upon political and global affairs,

“The essential point is that the invasion of Iraq … should have had no interest — in the internal governance of Iraq. This is the critical point on which the mission became complex […] Over time, this evolved to a new mission: the creation of democracy in Iraq.[…] The idea that the United States would be able to effectively preside over this society, shepherding it to democracy, was difficult to conceive even in the best of circumstances.”

The example we pose of Iraq is illustrative of what is playing out at the global level in many respects … whether with respect to individuals or nations. Yes, democracy and capitalism can be benevolent systems if the majority of people are moral and God-fearing. Apart from those conditions, they provide no sinecure. Many organizations working with governments are intent upon also introducing ‘”free-market” capitalism and Westernized financial markets to Iraq. While these systems can have their good uses, what is troubling is that their imposition is being widely supported by leading Christians as righteous, scripturally-endorsed solutions for the good of these countries.

Systems, like machines, can be used for both good and bad purposes. But, they need no scriptural imperatives. The Church need only preach and spread the gospel of He who alone is the author of all that is good. On this basis, we see that the various supposed representatives of the Church have erred in their increasing fraternity with state, other religions, and materialism. We see that even the evangelical church is in cahoots with the “gospel of Mammon” openly endorsing the imposition of this materialistic religion by force upon other nations.

What they are doing is promoting the “Statutes of Omri.”

Thoughts to Ponder
What was the final result of the statutes of the House of Omri? All 70 of his offspring were put to death. Seventy is the number of a “king’s life” (Isaiah 23:15) and also represents the completeness of a dynasty or legacy. Jacob had 70 members of his household that went to Egypt (Genesis 46:2, Exodus 1:5) and Gideon had 70 sons that were eradicated by Abimelech (Judges 9:56) More examples could be cited. The conclusion is that our present world order of “seventy kings” today will also come to a similar end throughout the last half of the Tribulation and finally at Armageddon by the sword of the mouth of the Lord.

Another result of Omri’s dynasty was that the House of Judah, who at least produced more than a few kings that walked with God, was also infected with its treacheries. Omri’s granddaughter, Athaliah, married Jehoram, king of Judah. He and his son with Athaliah, Ahaziah, were among the few kings of Judah that “did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” (2 Kings 8:18, 27) She nearly succeeded in cutting off the very line of David that was prophesied to produce the Messiah. She had proceeded to kill the entire royal family of Judah. Had Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, not hid Joash for six years (another “six”, meaning until the threat of the works of man had sufficiently diminished) this Satanic purging of this royal line by the House of Omri would have succeeded. At the time, Joash was the last living member of the direct lineage of David … the line of the royal sceptre (Psalm 60:7, Numbers 24:17).

Ecumenicism only threatens what is absolute. And, it is spreading fast. Church and state, Mammon and the Kingdom of God are all merging … being blurred into one negotiable mass. We can see that all these streams are morphing into a single power structure of the Last Days. Revelation 17 and 18 provides a colorful description of its outcome, describing it as the Great Prostitute, mother of all harlotries and abominations. These chapters show a picture of a reinforcing alliance of religion, political globalism and economy.

We return to our question at the outset. Can a remnant of the true Church be preserved throughout such a time of humanism and repression of Truth? God preserved the royal line of David by causing Jehosheba to hide away Joash. As such, he can be seen as a symbol of the last-day Church. It is persecuted by humanism and materialism — the works of man. Notice that this group is not preserved 7 years, but 6 years. If it were the former, we would be more inclined to see this remnant as being Jewish and going through the Tribulation period. In any case, only a small number survives as the truly observant and obedient Church … the one symbolized by Philadelphia in Revelation 3. Are you part of that number?

The prophet Micah, who alerted us to the wiles and deceptions of the Statutes of Omri has the last word. “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” (Micah 7:2) Practicing these statutes instead, may we be found faithful and among the last-day believing remnant.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

God Is The Same In Both The Old And The New Testaments

“Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:” — Lev 18:24

People often say that the God of the New Testament is a God of mercy and love, but the God of the Old Testament is vengeful and angry. Consider the fate of the Canaanites. The LORD didn’t just tell the Israelites to take over the Promised Land. He had them destroy all the people, young and old, male and female. He even had them kill off all the animals (Deut 20:16–17; Josh 6:21–23). Later in 1 Samuel, the LORD tells Saul to absolutely destroy the Amalekites and all they had:

“Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.”— 1 Samuel 15:3

Who is this God who would order such a thing? There are a number of explanations, the first of which are included in the text:

“That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God. ”— Deut 20:18

There is also the Nephilim issue. Genesis 6:4 includes the haunting phrase,“...and also after that....” Apparently these strange events were not confined just to the period before the Flood. We find that there seems to be some recurrence of those things which resulted in unusual “giants” appearing in subsequent periods later in the Old Testament narrative, specifically the giant-races of Canaan. There were a number of tribes such as the Rephaim, the Emim, the Horim, and Zamsummim, that were giants (Gen 14:5; Deut 2:10–12, 22).

Additional explanations are available. However, even if we do not know them all, can we trust that God who gave His Son to die for us, the God of mercy and grace, did know what He was doing, even when He ordered the destruction of entire groups of people?
All Their Abominations

First, we often hear the complaint that if God were good, He would not allow evil. We find that the groups of people God wiped out were engaged unrepentantly in a variety of horrific practices—to the point of being completely out of control.

When God brought the Flood, the earth was filled with violence, and the wickedness of humanity was so great that “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually,” (Gen 6:5).

Sodom was so bad before God destroyed it, the men of Sodom (young and old) surrounded Lot’s house and insisted he send out his guests so that they could rape them. When Lot made an attempt to appease his neighbors, they tried to break down the door (Gen 19:4–5,9).

The nations whom the LORD ordered the Israelites to destroy in the Promised Land engaged in a variety of abominable practices. They practiced child sacrifice, burning their children in the fire to false gods (Lev 18:21; 2Kings 17:31; 2 Chron 28:3; 2Chron 33:6 ). They engaged in bestiality (perhaps explaining why the animals could not be spared) (Lev 18:23–25), as well as adultery and homosexuality and incest (Lev 18:6–20; 24).) They invited demonic activity by practicing sorcery and witchcraft and consulting with evil spirits (Deu 18:9–12).

Yes, God had the Israelites destroy these people, but Gen 15:16 implies that He waited until their wickedness was “full”—until there was no alternative.

Sparing The Righteous
It is important to note that in every instance in which God destroys a people, He consistently rescues the few upright people in the midst of them. As Abraham noted in Genesis 18:25, God does not destroy the righteous with the wicked.

In Genesis 18:17–33, Abraham pleaded with God for Sodom, and God agreed that if there were 10 righteous people in Sodom, He would spare the city. Apparently, there weren’t even 10. Rather than destroy the one righteous man with the rest, however, God sent angels to get Lot and his family out before the brimstone fell. In fact, the angel says he cannot do anything else until Lot has escaped (Gen 19:22).

In Josh 6:22–25, Joshua’s men made sure to go in and rescue Rahab and her entire family because she had been willing to help the Israelites. In fact, Rahab—once a harlot—becomes the mother of Boaz, ancestor of King David and, ultimately, of Jesus.

In 1 Kings 14, the prophet of God told Jeroboam that he would be replaced as king of Israel because of his great wickedness in leading Israel to worship false gods and molten images. The next king would wipe out all of Jeroboam’s offspring. However, there is one son of Jeroboam who had a good heart toward the LORD. This child would not be slaughtered like the others. He would mercifully die of an illness and be buried and mourned (1Ki 14:12–13).

Then, there is Ninevah. Jonah wanted God to destroy this city, but God gladly had mercy on them because they repented. In Jonah 4:10–11, we find God reasoning with Jonah about his hard heart, saying: “Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?”

The God of the Old Testament is a God of great patience and longsuffering. He does not enjoy having to deal harshly with wicked humanity, and in Ezekiel we find His true position on the issue:

“Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?”— Ezekiel 18:23

As we read the Old Testament, we need to be careful. The heart of God in the Old Testament is the same heart of mercy and goodness as the God in the New Testament. But because He is good, He does not allow evil to continue unchecked forever.

Monday, May 13, 2013

What Has Happened To America

Who would have thought twenty years ago that our country would be in such disarray as it is today. The American dream has all but faded from view. The little white house with the picket fence on the corner of Main and Vine has been turned into a big high-rise where no one knows the other, and could care less. It used to be that communities were close knit and cared about their neighbor, but now, it is "all about me," and if you have something I want, "I will take it from you anyway I can."

It was a time when you new who was in control in "city hall," and they were there because their "morals," were as such becoming a leader. You sat down at a table with all the family to eat and discuss the happenings of the day at supper. Now you set in front of the TV, eating something quick to fix on a tray because you are in a hurry, and the kids are eating snacks, laying in their bedroom watching whatever they want for the most part on TV and for the most part being raised by God-hating people who want to destroy America and our past way of life, that most kids don't even have a "clue" about.

We used to say a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance to our Flag every day before class started, and our days went good. Now we wonder who is going to try and break into our schools and shoot our children. Or standing on a sidewalk watching the runners or a parade going by, and wondering if we are going to be another "Boston," or "New Orleans."

You can't trust anything that the government puts out anymore. Obama said he wanted to change the face of America, and he has and is doing it, right in front of our eyes, without what seems to be no restraint of any sort. It's as if he has free reign.

Has God lifted HIS Hand from off America to let us go whatever way that evil takes us.

When you read the account of the kingdom being taken from King Saul, God removed His spirit from Saul and anointed David to be the new KIng, but Saul, even though he knew what God had done, still played as much havoc as he could before he died. And David had many opportunities to kill Saul, but said "I will do no harm to God's anointed," even though God had pulled back.

Obama is dis-manteling America as fast as he can, and it seems like God is letting him do it. When a nation turns it's back on God, and forsakes His ways in the life of a nation, judgement comes to that nation. This has not just happened in the last four years. We cannot blame Obama, or Bush, or Clinton. They are the result of the problem.

If you really want to get right down to it, a lot of blame could be so called "Christians" who had no moral backbone going into the voting booth in the early part of the sixties. I know what I'm talking about...I was there. We allowed people into office who were not "Spiritually" fit to be there.

We went from small schools in different sections of town, to a larger school where parents had very little say in the teachers who were teaching our kids. Than we went to larger regional schools where we lost all control. And in the church, we did the same thing. We went from small community churches, where we knew everyone, and we prayed and worked together, to larger churches to where we had resources to "reach" more people, and than to "mega" churches, where you can "get lost" and no one knows about your sin, because they are to involved in their sins that is keeping them from following God.

Now, I don't want you to think for a moment that I am deliberately trying to be "negative," and I don't have any problem with bigger churches. But "bigger" doesn't necessarily mean "better." Look what we have now in our country.

The problem started back in the sixties and seventies, when we removed prayer from schools, when we started murdering the un-born children because it was, and still is, convenient and because they were un-wanted. God has been merciful and patient with America, but I believe He has DRAWN HIS SPIRT BACK to allow us to fall to our own doom. We really haven't had a "national" revival since Pearl Harbor. Churches don't have revivals any more. The church today has become "event" driven, instead of "theology" driven. Wednesday or "mid week prayer services" are a thing of the past. "Cottage" prayer meetings that were done weeks before revivals, are never heard of anymore.

  • Can a revival save us? 
  • Have we gone too far already? 
  • Will our country turn back to the Biblical roots we had? 

I wish I had an answer to these and a lot of other questions. Is there a prophet that can go to God and petition Him to stay judgement just a little while longer so we can get our loved ones into the fold? But then, why do we want more time when we have been delinquent in the use of our time we have already had to use?

But, in the midst of the darkness, there is hope. God is still in control, His word is still true and sure, and will endure every fiery dart that comes against it. And the Church of Jesus Christ is alive and well, and very soon will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. It's not my way of trying to say that we will escape the tribulation that those who are left behind will endure, and I hate the thought of anyone of my loved ones will be left behind, but for those who trust in God, and are living for Him this is  "looking for the blessed hope and the soon glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ"


Saturday, May 11, 2013

False Prophets In Our Pulpits Today

All the way back in the first century, the apostle Paul pleaded and warned believers to be on guard against men within their own ranks who would try to “draw away disciples after them.” They would dis­tort the truth of God’s Word, teach only selected parts of it, or take Scripture out of context to deceive the flock. These are also tactics of certain modern day evangelical leaders who some might describe as emergent, liberal, or postmodern.

Postmodernism can be traced to the early 1970s and generally ques­tions whether truth can be known with certainty, if it even exists at all. The danger, of course, with accepting ambiguity over truth is it leaves the door wide open to debate right and wrong in terms of feelings and experiences. Postmodernism rejects there is scientific, philosophical, or religious truth which is the same for everybody.

Paul is specifically speaking officers of the church. They are not to run the church, but they are to see that the church is fed the Word of God.
  • Acts 20:27-30 (NKJV)
  • 27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
  • 28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
  • 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
  • 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.

Doubt and uncertainty are the devil’s tools going all the way back to the Garden of Eden when the serpent tempted Adam and Eve by getting them to question God’s literal words. You can take those deceptive words, “Did God really say…?” and finish the question with whatever ending you’d like in order to plant seeds of doubt in the minds of believers…

You’d think the church would be a safe place for believers, but these are dangerous times in which we live. In the same way socialism has infected America, false teachings have infected Christianity. Some well-known leaders have gone astray and have taken some of the flock with them… We are in desperate need of discernment, where we test every spirit according to the Word of God.

The Bible warns teachers to watch their doctrine closely (1 Timothy 4:16 NKJV) 
  • 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
Let me say this as kindly, but as loud as I can: "God have mercy on the minister who is not giving out the Word of God! That is a frightful sin. It would be better to be a gangster than to be a man who is supposed to give out the Word of God and fails to do so.

Many emergent church leaders do not focus on the deity of Christ and the authority of the Bible as much as they call attention to themselves or a doctrine they are espousing. Remember this: we are more likely to defend and stand up for what we love. It is imperative we get back to loving the truth – the living Word of our God. (Have you read Psalm 119 lately? You need to; it will take you about thirty minutes to just read it.)

The watering down of sin and the Bible has now spread like poison in American churches. Truth has sadly become vague or irrelevant to many Christians, and grace and tolerance are over-emphasized today, thanks in part to the seeker-sensitive church mentality. Sinners are attracted to these emergent teachings, and some end up liking what they see and hear because it is patterned after the world. It makes them comfortable, but is this the church’s job? Whatever happened to preach­ing the whole truth and leading people to repentance?

Many churches in America now have beautiful buildings, coffee shops, bookstores, great music and sound systems, state of the art lighting, edgy drama, video presentations, and some even offer yoga classes. Some churches seem to put more of an emphasis on entertaining the flock than on feeding them God’s word. Well, at least it keeps the young people occupied, but what will they do when the go out into the real world? Are they prepared to face spiritual warfare and withstand attacks on their faith?

The very existence of the Bible is divisive because it forces people to make a deci­sion about its message. It offers two options; accept it as God’s Word or reject all of it. Picking and choosing verses like a spiritual buffet is not permissible. Cafeteria Christianity won’t cut it.

Every­thing we hear today must be held to the standard of Scripture because the enemy is active within the church working to blot out God. We must strive to continue in the Word of God and its authority.

As Paul says to Timothy 2 Timothy 4:2-5 (NKJV), "In view of the fact that you, Timothy, are going to stand before Him to have your life judged, this is what you are to do." These instructions to Timothy are just as pertinent in our day as at the time they were given by the mouth of Timothy. This is what God is saying to you and me right now.
  • 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 
  • 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 
  • 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 
  • 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
The better we know the Word of God, the quicker we will recog­nize false teachings. With a solid foundation rooted in absolute truth and a faith based on Christ the Lord, it will be harder for us to fall for counterfeits. 

"When doctrine is mini­mized, heresy can exercise itself without restraint.”

Minimizing the person and the gospel of Jesus Christ is a good way to describe what many evangelical leaders do regardless of whether it is on purpose or not. Many of these men are best-selling authors, speakers at Christian music festivals and conferences, and several are mega-church pastors…

But, these ideas and teachings were not accepted by Christians overnight. The progressive pathways of emergent leaders have gradually merged with the wide road that leads to destruction. I don’t believe leaders set out at first with the agenda to poison Christianity, but their liberal theology has evolved to the point of contaminating the church. They intended to avoid harsh teachings regarding hell, judgment, and sin, but what has emerged is a wishy-washy, compromised and weakened message of a broad, tolerant gospel.

I have been in many conversations over the past couple of years with those who are involved with this type of movement. Invariably, they will always say, “look at the size and growth of our church buildings and marketing campaigns and fundraisers! Look at how hip and relevant we are! We even serve cappuccino and lattes! Our sermons are catchy, our services are attractive, the kids are having fun, and we’ve even blended in with culture!” 

This is my point exactly about the dangers of conforming to the world’s ways.

When the Holy Spirit isn’t invited by the preaching of solid Scripture to come in and work in our hearts, there can be no conviction. Without conviction and revelation of sin, there can be no repentance leading to forgiveness…

Jesus warns us that He is returning quickly and said Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown (Rev. 3:11). It’s up to indi­vidual Christians to live counter-culture for the Lord and resist those who oppose the light and truth of Christianity.

Thankfully, there are some good churches and pastors out there who still teach the unfil­tered truth. There is also a remnant that understands the times. These committed soldiers are seeking allies, kindred spirits to encourage and sharpen one another. Take up your position! There are watchmen exposing darkness and soldiers fighting the good fight of faith who are hoping to one day hear God say, “well done.” Let’s do our best to be counted among these.

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error (1 John 4:4-6).

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Christians across the world will celebrate the Feast of Pentecost on Sunday, May 19th this year, but they may easily overlook the Hebrew feast that predated it. The Jewish holiday Hag Ha Shavuot—The Feast of Weeks—will be celebrated Tuesday, May 14–Thursday May 16, 50 days after the start of Passover. This is the day the Torah was given to the children of Israel, and during Shavuot in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples and the Church was born. Originally celebrated seven weeks from the Sunday after Passover, Shavuot (or Pentecost) is observed on the 6th of Sivan in current practice.

The Feast of Weeks is a celebration of the first harvest. During those weeks after Passover, the farmers would set aside the “first fruits”—the first of each kind of produce to ripen in the fields and on the vine. At the end of the seven weeks, all males would bring their first fruits to be offered before the LORD in Jerusalem. It was a joyful time for all those in Israel;

  • And thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to place his name there. Deuteronomy 16:11

Because it was one of the three annual feasts in which every male was to go before the LORD (Deut 16:16), Jerusalem was filled with Jews from all over the known world on that day in Acts 2 when God gave the children of Israel His Holy Spirit with power. On the very day God had given Moses His holy Law, God gave the children of Israel, and the world, a more complete and powerful way to know Him. It was the beginning of a new sort of harvest, a spiritual harvest, and one based on the Spirit of God rather than on simply the letter of the Law.

In current tradition, Jews celebrate Shavuot by reading the book of Ruth. They stay up the entire first night of Shavuot reading the Torah and pray early in the morning.

As we celebrate Shavuot and Pentecost this coming week, may we again appreciate the fellowship we have with God through His Spirit and consider the harvest He considers most valuable:
  • Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. — Luke 10:2
More verses to consider:
Exodus 19 vs Acts 2
Romans 7:6
Romans 8:2–4

Related Links:
The Appointed Times
— Koinonia House
— Judaism 101
The Story of Shavuot