Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Wall Street Journal, this week, ran articles about Southern Baptists and Apple Corporation's Tim Cook on the same page. Interestingly, Cook's "coming out" announcement actually was verification of old news. Running a story about Southern Baptists above the fold was a shock.

The headline read, "Southern Baptists Soften Tone on Gays." Really?

Unlike the Roman Catholics who change at the whim of a pontiff, Southern Baptists on the whole have changed nothing because our core belief system is based on the unchanging absolutes of God's Word. At the very least, the headline is misleading.

Consequently, allow me to list of five simple things to remember about Baptists, especially in the context of the social confusion created by a small minority of American citizens:

First, Baptists are people of the Book.
The principles of God's Word are neither for sale nor are they negotiable. That makes Baptists a stubborn lot. When Baptists have made mistakes by following cultural prejudices instead of scriptural truths, they on the whole tend to repent and move forward, hoisting high the Word of God as the authority for life, liberty and purposefulness.

While biblical principles are for all people everywhere, embracing the Gospel by faith gives individuals the opportunity to enter a personal relationship with the ultimate Author and Teacher of the Word. As a result, Baptists tend to test their worldview by the Word of God and desire that every aspect of life is compatible with its truths.

Second, Baptists love people.
Collectively, Baptists love people so much they invest millions of dollars in ministries to help people in the United States and around the world. They volunteer for all kinds of helping ministries. They know that being part of a church is more than the number of noses at some church gathering. They are part of a community of believers involved in touching the world with the Gospel.

Baptists believe they have experienced the transformational love of God for their personal lives, and as a result they want to communicate God's love to individuals and all cultures. They love people who are broken. After all, they were one of the major players pre-WWII in building hospitals to serve people with medical needs. They love people who lack basic literacy skills by launching educational ministries to teach knowledge and wisdom. Through ministries to children and the sexually exploited, Baptists demonstrate love for people who are abandoned.

When calamities strike, it is Baptists with those bright yellow shirts who are some of the first on the scene to help people through the crisis. It is in our spiritual DNA to love people and help them walk through their trials. Our hope is that others see the love of God through us.

Third, no Baptist can speak for all Baptists.
Someone can speak in a general way about Baptists. Someone can speak to Baptists. But to speak for all Baptists is contrary to our autonomous nature. Beyond Scripture, the closest thing we have to address the sentiments of Baptists relating to moral or social issues are the various resolutions that are passed at annual meetings. Even that is the reflection of thought of the Baptists meeting at that moment in history.

Fourth, Baptists trust the transformational Gospel more than psychotherapy.
As one media source put it, "reparative therapies aimed at ridding patients of unwanted same-sex attractions" were discussed during the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission's national conference on "The Gospel, Homosexuality and the Future of Marriage" last month in Nashville. While there is a place for the psychologist, Baptists are highly suspicious of that work when it sterilizes the transformational power of the Gospel.

ERLC President Russell Moore suggested that instead of looking to psychologists for a cure for same-sex attraction, people need to look to Christ for the power to overcome temptation of all forms. "The Bible doesn't promise us freedom from temptation," Moore said. "The Bible promises us the power of the Spirit to walk through the temptation."

Fifth, Baptists are the standard bearers for religious liberty and good public policy.
The current debate in our nation is actually whether dichotomous worldviews can exist with equality. While in theory that sounds compelling, in a practical sense it is next to impossible. In the context of religious freedom, the majority worldview must accommodate the minority. Currently, the minority worldview of the LGBT is clamoring for acceptance and does not tolerate the biblical convictions of believers who have influenced this culture for decades.

Will Baptists withdraw from the discussion? Not on your life! And do not mistake our compassion for people as acquiescence of our biblical convictions.

As part of convictional living, Baptists have a history of promoting justice and the common good. We work for laws that are historically founded and generationally positive. We cannot shrink from the responsibility that God has called us to lead people to repentance and faith in Christ. Remember, the law is to be a tutor to show people what unrighteousness looks like.

As Baptists living in a representative form of government, we promote laws for better health for women and the lives of children in the womb. We encourage legislators to protect the aged from social engineers who devalue the life of those who no longer make a recognized contribution to society. We oppose elected officials who abuse the power of their office by rewriting policy and by failing to enforce constitutional measures the citizenry has overwhelmingly adopted. We applaud statutes that protect minors from abusive persons. The list of good practices that promote the common good is huge, and Baptists are involved with a history of being convictional people more than culturally relevant.

As I wrote this article, additional news broke about the 276 school girls who were kidnapped by the Boko Haram terrorist group in Nigeria. The leader, Abubakar Shekau, dashed hopes for a prisoner exchange to get the girls released. He boasted that these young girls were married off as the spoils of war.

Such a notion is anathema where biblical Christianity flourishes. If anyone questions the importance of Baptists being Baptists, point them to the tragedy of a culture that exists for the whims of human deviance. Let us continue to be convictionally compassionate and diligent intercessors so "that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good acceptable in the sight of God our Savior" (1 Timothy 2:2-3).

John Yeats is the author of this article. Yeats is executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention. This column first appeared in The Pathway (www.mbcpathway.com), the convention's newsjournal.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Praying For Our Leaders

The substantial majority of readers of blogs of this type do not care for Barack Obama’s presidency. This assertion is to understatement something like a kitchen faucet is to Niagara Falls.

Yet Christians are not given the option of letting their disagreement with their political leaders prevent them from praying for those leaders. The apostle Peter wrote that believers are to “be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good … Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (I Peter 2:13-14, 17).

Similarly, Paul wrote to Timothy, “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior” (I Timothy 2:1-3).

Who was emperor when Peter and Paul wrote these words? None other than one of the most notorious political leaders of history, Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, known generally simply as Nero.

What kind of ruler was Nero? He murdered his mother and both of his wives, for starters. But his grotesque brutality far transcended his immediate family. According to the Roman historian Tacitus, after fire had consumed roughly half of Rome and his popularity was in free-fall, Nero decided to blame the fire on Christians. Tacitus records that, among other things, the early Roman followers of Jesus “were covered with the skins of wild animals and then torn apart by dogs, some were crucified, some were burned at torches to light as night” (The One Year Christian History, p. 322).

Thankfully, none of America’s political leaders – local, state, or federal – can claim such infamy. This does not diminish the wrong that they have done or allow. For example, the silent cries of more than 56 million unborn children aborted since 1973 echo through the corridors of power. Yet we are called to pray for those in authority; God’s Word says it, and Christians must do it.

How, then, should we pray for those in authority over us, whether they be persons we respect and/or with whose political judgment we agree or persons whose character and/or official policies we cannot endorse?
  • 1. We should pray for their health and safety. As recorded in Ezra 6:10, the pagan king Darius asked God’s faithful people in Jerusalem to pray for his life and the lives of his sons. In light of the recent intrusion in the White House of a man armed with a knife, we certainly can pray that the Obama family and all those in power, whether in Washington or the county courthouse or anywhere in between, would be protected and upheld in good health.
  • 2. We should pray that they would execute justice. Honoring and protecting those who live decently and productively and punishing those who do wrong are the fundamental duties of the state (Romans 13:3-4; 1 Peter 2:14). We should ask the Lord that those in authority would fulfill them well.
  • 3. That they would follow the Lord’s ways and repent if they don’t. The horrific reign of Manasseh over Judah and his later repentance (II Chronicles 33:1-20) should remind Christians that for those in government leadership, personal character and political actions are entwined. Yet Manasseh should also remind us that even evil men, when they repent sincerely, can be used by God to restore what they have ruined.
  • 4. That they would govern with wisdom for the “welfare of the city” (Jeremiah 29:7), not for personal gain or for the advantage of a favored few. Their concern must be for the well-being of all.
  • 5. That God would accomplish His purposes through them regardless of their willingness to be used by Him. Proverbs 21:1 tells us that “the king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will.” We can petition the Most High to work through even those who are resisting Him to fulfill His purposes.
It’s noteworthy that God is unimpressed by political power, including those who think they can defy Him. Consider some passages of Scripture about how the Sovereign of all views such persons:
  • The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision” (Psalm 2:2-4).
  • Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, He takes up the coastlands like fine dust … All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and … brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. (Isaiah 40:15, 17; 22-24).
Terms like derision, laughter, “brings to nothing” and “as emptiness” make clear that God is not especially threatened by those who believe they can unseat His omnipotent and eternal rule. We should not be either.

Daniel 4:17 reminds us that “the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.” The Hebrew the word translated as “lowliest” probably refers to persons of humble origin. In other words, God can raise up a shepherd boy like David, a backwoods workman like Abraham Lincoln, or the son of a ne’er-do-well Kenyan economist like Barack Obama to accomplish what He wants, whether they want Him to or not. God’s people must never forget, and should always take great comfort, in that truth, even as they work actively for public policies pleasing to their Eternal King.

Family Research Council.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ebola and ISIS - Both Dangerous and Relentless

Lately, much of America's attention has been focused on Ebola and ISIS. Both of those lurking threats are dangerous and relentless. 

Even now, we can see that each possesses the capacity to inflict immeasurable, even massive, pain and suffering. As of yet, though, we are still unsure about how much damage they can realistically do to the American homeland.

However, despite all the other existing and potential crises like Vladimir Putin's slow-motion takeover of Ukraine, Russia's teetering on the verge of financial collapse, Iran's impending ascension to the nuclear club, the disturbing prospect of Islam's growing dominance of Europe, various crumbling national economies around the world, and on and on and on, Sweden and Great Britain have reckoned that maybe the most pressing action they need to take is recognizing the non-existent state of Palestine.

Last week, Sweden did it officially and Britain did it unofficially.

Caroline Glick is a senior contributing editor at The Jerusalem Post. Writing this week in The New York Times, Ms. Glick noted that the Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Lofven said that "a two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to peaceful co-existence." She then reminded Mr. Lofven and the world that "...PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas has pledged, repeatedly, over decades that he will never, ever recognize Israel."

Her implicit question, which none of the politically-correct European and British politicians can ever answer, is, "How can you say that Palestinian recognition of Israel is vital to a so-called 'two-state solution,' then blatantly ignore the critical fact that the Palestinians have pledged NEVER to recognize Israel and still demand that Israel give the PLO and Hamas all they want."

Ms. Glick rightly observed that those European politicians aren't stupid. She wrote, "They know that if Israel succumbs to their political and economic warfare and cedes its capital city and historic heartland to its enemies, it will be unable to defend its remaining territory." Then she hit the nail on the head, "In other words, they know that in recognizing 'Palestine,' they are not helping the cause of peace. They are advancing Israel's ruin."

To make matters worse, last week U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry implied to reporters that he blames Israel for the success of ISIS. He hinted that the lack of peace between Israel and the Palestinians is "a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation."

I've got a news flash for Secretary Kerry, ISIS follows the long Muslim tradition of hating Jews. That's why they will be just as outraged by a "two-state solution" as they are by the very existence of a Jewish state. They will not rest as long as Israel exists in any shape or form.

Further, they don't just want to wipe out Israel, they want to rid the earth of every last Jew.

Will they be satisfied then? No. Why? Because close behind their hatred of Jews is their hatred of Christians. ANY Jew or Christian living anywhere in the world will always be an affront to their faith.

So when you hear Kerry and company calling on Israel to sacrifice its security for "peace in the Middle East," remember that the appetite of radical Islam is insatiable. They don't want two states anywhere. They want one state everywhere -- the Islamic state!

President Obama is right.

We need to send help to the nations in West Africa who are on the frontlines battling Ebola. In fact, we need to send massive help.

Even more, it's definitely in our best interest to do so. IF -- and that's a capitalized "IF" -- the outbreak there reaches the fantastic, "exponential" proportions predicted by the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) and even our own CDC, it is imperative that the disease be stopped where it is -- essentially, in three nations in West Africa.

However, just as right and important as it is to stop Ebola in its West African tracks, it's dumb to send thousands of unprepared, untrained American troops into the "hot zone" to deal with it.

But, you say, the mainstream media says they ARE trained to deal with it. Yeah, 50 at a time, trained by two instructors for four hours! Just look at who's been catching Ebola. Medical professionals with years of training and intimate and extensive knowledge of the dangers they face and the precautions necessary to deal with it. They probably spent more than four hours just learning the history of Ebola and how to spell its medically appropriate name!

Again, you say, the popular media says our soldiers WON'T be dealing directly with Ebola patients. Big deal. America's first Ebola patient, Dr. Kent Brantly, an expert on safely treating the deadly disease, insists that he "did not get Ebola in the isolation unit." He believes he caught the virus outside the hospital, while going about his daily life in Monrovia, Liberia.

Even Thomas Eric Duncan, America's first Ebola fatality, the Liberian who traveled here after becoming infected, did not get Ebola at the hospital treating patients. He came into close contact with an infected person in his own neighborhood when he tried to help her.

So just the fact that thousands of American soldiers are on site, building shelters and isolation units, moving about and interacting with the general population, even living in local hotels at the moment, means they are being exposed daily to potentially infected Liberians who are still asymptomatic, but carry the deadly contagion.

To me, that's an irresponsible way to use the heroic men and women who have volunteered to risk their lives to ensure our nation's security and way of life. On top of that, those thousands will constitute a dense environment through which Ebola could easily spread once some of them contract it.

I think the same lack of forethought is also demonstrated by the President's appointment of Democratic operative Ron Klain as the nation's "Ebola Czar."

While it's true that Klain served as Chief of Staff to both Vice Presidents Gore and Biden, and he is a loyal Democratic facilitator who was instrumental in the Solyndra scandal, and he was a lobbyist for that famous governmental millstone, Fannie Mae, and he is a lawyer, it's also true that he has no medical expertise or experience.

However, maybe that's not so important.

Recently on CNN, Elaine Kamarck from the Brookings Institute, who once served in the Bill Clinton White House, stated that "[President Obama] appointed Ron [Klain] to coordinate the government response... The governmental response has little to do with the medicine part of the Ebola crisis."

Sadly, I think Ms. Kamarck is probably right, too. The efforts of the U.S. government, which is a leading player in the worldwide fight against a MEDICAL crisis of potentially catastrophic potential, are being led by a bureaucrat who probably can't even pick an advanced Ebola patient out of a line-up. But it's apparently not important that he have any understanding of the MEDICAL implications of the disaster, just that he has the tools and experience (and willingness) to protect the Administration's political rear-end during the whole affair.

And here's a late-breaking twist to the story. WorldNetDaily reported that in a recent interview, Ron Klain identified the "top leadership issue challenging the world today" as "how to deal with the continually growing population in the world and all the resource demands it places on the world and burgeoning populations in Asia and Africa that lack the resources to have a healthy, happy life." And for good measure, he immediately added that "climate change impacts that issue...."

So, America's new "Ebola Czar" has no medical expertise or credentials, but he does think overpopulation is the "top leadership issue challenging the world today...." I see now why President Obama thought he was the perfect guy for the job.

Welcome to America 2014.

Now I understand why 58% of Americans surveyed in a recent Fox News poll felt that America was "going to hell in a handbasket."

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Should Christians Wear Tattoos?

I have been asked several times in the past two weeks if tattoos were wrong for Christians.
It is clear that we are living in the end times, right before the return of our Lord Jesus Christ to rapture home His blood-bought bride, the Church. It is also clear that these are perilous times. (2Tim 3:1) The current trend that more and more Christians seem to be picking up is tattooing. There are even “Christian” tattoo shops opening up, and deceived Christians are flocking to them more and more. They justify this activity by saying they are “tattooing for Jesus” and it’s fun to sport their new, colorful images or statements. Therefore, tattooing is no more an activity that the Bible expressly forbids, but it’s become the latest, cool, fun thing to do; and tattooing is popularly regarded as simply “body art”. Well, let’s explore what tattooing really is and what God has to say about it. 
1. The Mark of Blood. The tattooing procedure involves cutting the flesh with a sharp needle or instrument in order to carve out or make designs. The result is something called “blood-letting”. Blood-letting has both occultic and demonic origins as it is considered a power source that is supernaturally unleashed. Many pro-tattoo sources describe tattooing as having a magical, occultic connection with blood and blood-letting as being normal. Several pro-tattoo historians indicate the connection with scarification and blood-letting associated with religious practices. Another source indicates “the importance of licking the blood that was released during tattoo operations” (Steve Gilbert, “Tattoo History: A Source Book”, pg. 181). We read in 1Kings 18:25-28 the account of the prophets of Baal who met with Elijah to find out who was the true God. These were satanists who were attempting to unleash supernatural power by cutting themselves (vs. 28). In the New Testament, there was a man named Legion who was possessed by demons in Mark 5:1-9 who went about cutting himself with stones. (vs. 5) Leviticus 19:28 says “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” (emphasis mine)
2. The Cup of Devils. Historically, the origin of the tattoo is associated with paganism, demonism, Baal worship, shamanism, mysticism, heathenism, cannibalism and many other pagan beliefs. The tattoo has NEVER been connected with Bible believing Christians. But today in the 21st century, the trends are reverting from paganism practices to include the modern Christian and the new “Christian” tattoo shop. Satan is the god of this world and his agenda is to deceive many Christians, especially in the last days. But the fact remains that the tattoo has its roots in beliefs and practices that are demonic and pagan. Many pro-tattoo books indicate that tattooing is a magical rite and the tattooist is respected as a priest or shaman; it is connected to a religious ceremony and performed by priests or priestesses; it is intended to put the human soul in harmony with supernatural forces; at other times dancing accompanies the tattooing ritual to exorcise demons. In other words, it is connected with the spirit world and a tattoo is really much more than simply a body decoration. Today’s popular tattooing craze is “tribal tattoos”, which are pure paganism. These designs bear serious symbolic mystical and occult meanings. They are strongly connected with channels into spiritual and demonic possession. Many pro-tattoo artists and historians can attest to this by saying things like, “tattoos have a power and magic all their own”, “there is in addition to the opening of numerous inlets for evil to enter”, “allowing his clients’ demons to help guide the needle”. Ronald Scutt, in his exhaustive book, Art, Sex and Symbol, covers a lot about the history and culture of tattoos. He documents that most of the time tattoos are associated with spiritual, religious and mystical purposes; linking it to mystical significance, sun-worship, serpent worship, and the sun-god Baal. Author Steve Gilbert, of Tattoo History: A Source Book, p. 99, records, “The Spaniards, who had never heard of tattooing, recognized it at once as the work of Satan.” Yet today’s gullible Christians are out there in droves “marking themselves for Jesus”! Pagan tattooing is not just from the dark ages: many body artists perform ritual tattoos today as the quotes from tattoo authors above bear witness. Some will burn incense or light candles. 1Cor. 10:21 says, “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.”
3. The Mark of Death. Lev. 19:28 says, “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” Yet DEATH is the number one theme of tattoos! References from tattoo books again reveal this as a fact: “Death and darkness have always been a classic tattoo theme – skulls, snakes, demons” (The Body Art Book, pg. 56); Henry Ferguson in The Art of the Tattoo, states “probably the most popular tattooed image of today, the all-pervasive grinning skull!”; “Skulls imprinted on skin abound, and depictions of the Grim Reaper are commonly seen”; “Possibly, at the same time, to wear a death’s figure on one’s body may be an invocation of whatever indefinable forces of nature….in an attempt to protect the wearer from such a fate”. Tattoo shops mostly display morbid scenes of death, demons, serpents, and hell. Grim reapers, flaming skulls, snakes crawling through skulls, demons, Satan, pornography, blasphemy, naked flames of hell – every satanic scene of hell is glorified. Who really is the Master Tattooist? Satan, of course! (Rev. 6:8; Heb. 2:14). He is the author of Death; and the representative of Hell (Rev. 6:8; Matt. 25:41); also of the Serpent (Gen. 3:1; Rev. 12:9; Rev. 20:1-2); whereas Jesus is Life (John 1:3; John 6:48; John 11:25; John 14:6; Acts 3:15; Ro. 6:23; 1John 1:1-2; 1John 5:12).
Many tattoo artists embody satanic symbols of death and hell while they display demonic scenes in their shops, calling it “art”. They are often people who demonstrate their allegiance to Satan with vile and filthy depictions of the underworld.
4. The Mark of Rebellion. The Bible condemns all rebellion throughout its pages and declares that rebellion is as bad as witchcraft. (1Sam. 15:23) It is clear that the tattoo has always been an indication of a spirit of rebellion and deviancy on its wearers. All the tattoo books make comments about tattooing being rebellious. In addition, the tattoo is considered a mark of disgrace or reproach by the same tattoo books. Throughout history, the tattoo was used to mark the criminal, adulterers, traitors, deserters, the deviant and outcast. Thirdly, it has been the mark of the sideshow freak throughout history. Also, it is the mark of indecency. They were associated with barbarians in barbaric, immoral Greece and Rome. One tattoo book, “Art, Sex and Symbol”, 1974, by Ronald Scutt, pg. 179, says “In a society that considers nudity as dirty, indecent, and subversive or morality … - it is not surprising that decorations to the body are allocated to the same category.” The tattoo is also considered the mark of depravity by many tattoo books. Studies have been done that indicate a high percentage of deviant behaviors and troubled persons that were tattooed. Studies have also been done that link tattoos to homosexuality, lesbianism, and gross sexual perversion. Statements made in many of the tattoo books bear this out. Recent studies on today’s tattooed young people indicate 1) they are nearly four times more likely to engage in sexual intercourse; 2) Over two times more likely to experience alcohol related problems; 3) Nearly two times more likely to use illegal drugs; 4) Over two times more likely to express violent behavior; and 5) Over two times more likely to drop out of high school.
What about Jesus? Wasn’t He a rebel? NO WAY! To the contrary: Jesus was 100 percent OBEDIENT unto death – even the death of the Cross! (Phil. 2:8) In the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed, “not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42-44) If there was the slightest chance that Jesus was a rebel, then He would have sinned against God, and we would all be lost!
5. Tattoo’s Deadly Little Secret. It is a well-known fact that tattooing runs a risk of acquiring any number of deadly diseases, including Hepatitis C and AIDS. The reason is because the needle that is used to tattoo punctures the skin 3,000 times a minute. In an hour, that would be 180,000 times that puncture wounds provide a potential path to a deadly disease. Not only that, but it is also well documented that tattoo shops are not regulated by the government to uphold medical standards. Also, many tattoo artists do not inform their clients of possible infection from the needle or the ink. The Mayo Clinic sounds a warning about commercial tattooing: “Few states have hygienic regulations to ensure safe tattooing practices in commercial tattoo parlors, and even fewer monitor and enforce standards”. (Body Piercing and Tattoos: More than Skin Deep, Mayo Clinic, www.mayoclinic.com). Tattoos can cause many chronic skin disorders such as sarcoid, keloid scarring, allergic dermatitis, photosensitivity reactions, psoriasis, and tumors. Finally, the Bible gives a real warning about this sort of procedure (Psm.38:5-8)
6. Tattoos and the Bible. We know already what Lev. 19:28 says. But people use that to say, “But that’s in the OLD Testament! What about the New?” Well, do you know that Lev. 19:29 says not to prostitute your daughter; yet it says nothing in the New Testament about that, making it okay to prostitute your child? I think not! These moral laws are timeless and are as applicable now as then. Lev. 19:28 indicates that we are to not print ANY marks on us. Period. Lev. 19:26-28 is a condemnation of assorted pagan, witchcraft and heathen practices, of which tattooing is clearly one of them. Every commentary written on Lev. 19:28 says that tattooing comes from pagan origins. Isaiah 44:5 & Ezekiel 9:4 indicates “he will write with his hand to the Lord.” Some go as far as to say that Jesus Christ is tattooed! (Rev. 19:16) If that is literally true, then Jesus is a sinner who disobeyed Lev. 19:28. Finally, because our bodies are the Temple of the Living God (1Cor. 6:19-20), God wants them pure for His glory. Defiling the temple of God, him will God destroy (1Cor. 3:16-17). God meant what He said! (Num. 23:19; Gal. 6:7-8) 2Cor. 6:16 says, in part, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God.”
7. Tattoo: The Mark of Regret. Those who get tattoos while in a backslidden state will forever have to live with them. Even those who flock to get laser surgery in an attempt to remove the tattoos will have to go through a lot of expensive and painful procedures, and yet the tattoo will never be totally removed and will just look ugly. Many who are foolish enough to get tattoos later regret them and hate looking at them. There are many consequences of getting “marked”: spiritual, health, social. Once a person has that mark put on them, they are then in a different category: one of the gang, cool, and spiritually defiled against God who shakes their fist at His law. Not to mention that after getting the tattoo, some serious medical problems could start to germinate. Getting a tattoo can also damage relationships with friends, family, teachers or employers. According to Bonnie B. Graves, Tattooing and Body Piercing, p. 43, many jobs are not available to those who have visible body art. So, then, is getting a tattoo really worth all the consequences?
If you have tattoos and are still unconvinced that any of the above applies to you, then consider this: tattooing, in addition to being disobedient, is idolatrous because it displays an image. If someone is “tattooing for Jesus” and thinks that’s acceptable, it isn’t because the “Jesus” (or any symbol) you are marking yourself with is an image. God says very clearly and explicitly that we are to have no other gods before Him, and that it is He and He alone who is supreme. (Ex. 20:3; Is. 45:5)
The Bible expressly tells us to keep ourselves unspotted from the world (Jas. 1:27), to abstain from the appearance of evil (1Thess. 5:22), and that friendship with the world is enmity with God. (Jas. 4:4). We are instructed to come out from among them and be separate from the world. (2Cor. 6:17) Christians therefore have the responsibility to obey God’s commands and abstain from worldly associations, pastimes, or habits; not just out of duty but because we love God and have a living relationship with Him. (John 14:15). Please beware that ALL tattooing is wrong, not just the graphic stuff described above. It all has the same origin in paganism and is expressly commanded by the Lord that we are to avoid this practice at all costs!
If you received tattoos before conversion to Christ, then you have already been forgiven for that. On the other hand, if you have received tattoos after giving your life to Christ, you need to repent of this sin and not repeat it, under any circumstances, because it is considered abominable.
Rapture Ready

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dangerous, Unsettling Times

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2 Timothy 3:1 [KJV])

There is no doubt that we are in dangerous, unsettling times. The earth is nearly shaking on its axis. Previous generations were spared dealing with concepts such as Sharia Law, Islamic Caliphates, nuclear centrifuges in rogue hands, chemical weapons, NSA spying, IRS lawlessness, border invasions, and corruption and serial lying at the highest levels of government.

Even nature is out of control. And today's church is compromising so there aren't many shelters any longer.

If you dwell on headlines too long, you would think that Armageddon is on our door step. And maybe it is. If you listen carefully, you just might hear the footsteps of the four horsemen of the apocalypse in the distance. Has their journey begun?

A Coalition of Comfort
Every year, thousands travel to various Bible and prophecy conferences so they can compare notes with like-minded believers and comfort one another. They want to encourage one another (Hebrews 10). They want to be a "coalition of comfort" to one another. They also want assurance that their perspective on the world and church is on target.

His Return Trumps Dark Times
Even though many believers today know that the news is bad, and the headlines are dark, you will not find a feeling of depression among them. No ones giving up because we (believers) have the hope of Christ's imminent return.

That trumps dark news, slanted stories, the glorification of evil, the threats coming from Washington, and the hypocrisy from people in high places.

Many churches and pastors today are telling their members to keep things light and even major in minors. But the child of God cannot do that, even when it feels like we are an island even among other family members.

We need one another. We are instructed to join together and worship and share and build up each other in Christian love. And we need commonality. We need people who can relate to the crisis of the day, or the hassles of the job, or the latest news headlines, or the sorrows of pain and loss. We need people who can help us discern doctrine. We are brought together by God for that purpose. God knows who we need and He brings us together."

So Why Is the Church Silent?
Most churches today are silent on all of the important issues of the day, and particularly silent on the theology of the Lord's return.

Church members are being told that such topics don't promote church growth. Here are some things that I hear when I speak of prophecy:
This subject matter is "controversial." (Really???)
Bible prophecy makes some people uncomfortable. So?
Just what do all those bowls, vials, and seals really mean??

One thing that I have found, on one hand, is that some pastors have not been trained in eschatology and they don't want to risk preaching it. On the other hand, some pastors has been taught all the varying prophecies and they are unsure which one is sound.

And then you have the problem of date-setters who have given the topic a black eye!

And Than You Have Those Who Say, Come, Lord Jesus, But Not Too Soon!
This seems to be the consenses when dealing with the younger generation and current issues. Most responses were the same: Younger folks want to live out their lives on this aching planet and THEN enjoy Eternity. In other words, come, Lord Jesus, but not too soon!

There are some young people who are an exception to that but not many. Most younger folks really want to enjoy life even with today's struggles. They want to see kids grow and get married. Eternal issues can wait.

But I have seen some in the younger generation who want to "pass this torch." They want to pass on the information, and the urgency of our times, to their generation!  Rare, perhaps, but such occurrences happen to let us know we should not give up hope. You never know who you are affecting! I have found that not all are focused on the now and self.

As I tell prospective teacher in training, "keep the maim thing the main thing."

Friday, July 18, 2014

God And The Homosexual

As Christians, we cannot hide from this issue, but, we must stand firm on God's Word, and what He says. And we need to stop trying to "fit" God's Word to our beliefs, and accept it for what the Word says.

After triumphing in virtually every institution in America, the homosexual movement has now marched its way into the church. Battle after battle is being fought over gay clergy, same sex marriage and the meaning of the Bible’s handful of passages mentioning homosexuality.

A more recent controversy has to do with the difference between a same sex orientation and engaging in homosexual acts, especially as related to those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. Can a Christian struggle with same sex desire and still inherit the kingdom of God if he* does not participate in same sex activities?

Note *This article will use the pronoun “he” throughout, rather than the more cumbersome “he or she.” However, the arguments used in this article will apply equally to male and female.

This is a question of eternal significance. Paul says, “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals … will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9).

Depths of depraved nature
The mental health profession denies the possibility of changing sexual orientation, even while readily admitting it does not understand the dynamics of homosexuality. For example, the website of the American Psychiatric Association says: “No one knows what causes heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality.”

How can those who claim that no one knows what causes homosexuality insist that such a sexual orientation cannot be changed?

On the other hand, perhaps the APA is on to something. Perhaps they understand just how difficult it is to change the “inner man.”

Biblically speaking, this internal stubbornness does not apply only to a homosexual orientation. Scripture makes clear that unregenerate human nature cannot be changed by human effort. As Jesus said in John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.”

Does this mean that a gay person can’t help what he is? Yes. But this does not mean that the homosexual is not guilty before a holy God. In fact, we are all guilty before God because none of us can help what we are in our fallen condition.

A homosexual might even say, “I don’t want to be this way,” but that doesn’t help him change. Without the intervention of God, the broken stay broken, especially when it comes to our sinful nature. While we might make surface corrections, our core nature remains fallen. We are all prisoners of sin, according to Galatians 3:22.

The problem is that most of us – even many Christians – never really saw our “lostness” in a biblical way. We think back, and many of us believe that we were, by and large, pretty good people who needed a little cleaning up around the edges, like a guy going to the barbershop wanting just a trim.

That’s not at all how the Bible portrays us: people completely lost and ruined, alienated from God, cut off from His life, stubborn sinners, idolaters, enemies.

Repenting of being me
Part of the Great Commission is “that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations” (Luke 24:47).

The Bible makes clear that homosexual acts are sinful. Yet what about a same sex orientation apart from sexual activity? Is it also sinful?

The answer appears to be yes, just as a desire to fornicate is a sin. In Romans 1:26-27, Paul speaks of the homosexual’s “degrading passions” or desires themselves. He also mentions that they “burned in their desire toward one another” and then committed “indecent acts.”

These sinful homosexual acts were rooted in same sex lusts. But what are these desires rooted in? Lust is simply the unleashing of the attraction. All three – orientation, lust and act – appear to be located on the same sinful continuum.

However, this is not descriptive of the homosexual condition alone. All of unregenerate human nature is sinful. This means we are literally called to repent of who we are. Paul says, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh” (Romans 7:18).

The homosexual is called to repent of his sexual orientation – to admit before God that its very existence is a manifestation of a corrupted sexuality. Every person is called to repent on this level. Perhaps it is not a broken sexual nature, but something else altogether. When Paul says “nothing good” exists in the unregenerate nature, he means precisely that.

Grace, grace, grace
Perhaps the person born blind will cry out to the Lord for a miracle, and sometimes God answers and heals. But if we are honest, most of the time God does not seem inclined – whatever the reason – to perform that miracle.

Likewise, countless people who self-identify as homosexual claim to have prayed endlessly for God to remove their same sex attractions – to no avail.

This is not the whole story, of course. Despite the media’s refusal to consider the reality of “ex-gay” people, there are clearly many who have left the lifestyle. While temptation remains, they have – by God’s grace – reoriented their affections to the opposite sex.

For the Christian, the Scripture is even more explicit. Paul declares of the Corinthian Christians that they had formerly been sinners of all sorts – including homosexuals. Then he adds, “but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).

It doesn’t matter what the American Psychiatric Association says. Paul’s statement, “Such were some of you,” is proof that God does heal penitent sinners of all sorts of sinful “orientations.” Homosexuals are not excluded from that hope.

A difficult road
On the other hand, like the blind or paralyzed person who cries out to God for physical healing but does not receive it, Christians who still struggle with same sex attraction may find themselves similarly frustrated.

For some reason, God often responds to prayer requests as He did with Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). The battle goes on. The Christian must fight against his fallen nature as the Israelites fought against the continual encroachments of the Philistines.

What, then, do we say to the gay man and the lesbian? What are they to do with their brokenness? First, if they remain defiant in it, they will eternally perish. Yet this is no different than the drunkard or the fornicator or the liar or the idolater. All who remain in their rebellion are damned.

We say to the homosexual as we would say – or should say – to everyone else who is mere flesh: Law can’t save you. Religion can’t deliver you. All your righteous deeds are as filthy rags. There is none good, no, not one. Humble yourself before God, repent of who you are at your deepest level – and all that flows out of that polluted spring – and trust in Christ. Let God conform you to the image of His Son.

So, can a person be a gay Christian? The question itself smacks of politics and spiritual compromise. In the world there exist (1) non-Christians and (2) Christians. The former live in the flesh; the latter do not. The Christian has one object in his sight – Jesus Christ. God’s people desire to be like His Son, and everything else must go.

How does a person embrace an orientation that he disdains? Can a person be a Christian adulterer or Christian fornicator? If I come to Christ in defiance and, contra Paul in Romans 7:18, insist that there is some good in my flesh after all, true repentance has not occurred.

Can a person be a Christian and still struggle against same sex attractions? Yes. When we become followers of Christ, we continue to battle the flesh in all its permutations (Galatians 5:16-17). But we have the power of Christ on our side, and we are called to gain mastery over the impulses that have plagued us, even if the impulses themselves remain. Christ will lead us in victory if we will receive His grace daily and obey Him.

In His interaction with the rich young ruler, Jesus made clear that idolatry in the heart could keep a person from entering the kingdom. The disciples were very astonished to hear this, and one can sense the hopelessness behind their subsequent question, “Then who can be saved?”

To His followers and to every other human being who peers up at the mountain that is their sinful and fallen nature, Jesus says the same thing: “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’” (Matthew 19:25-26). This is what the gospel declares. The church must be the first to say so.

This article taken from AFA Journal

Monday, June 30, 2014

Will The Church Go Through The Tribulation?

The Church will not go through the Tribulation. There is a distinct difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming. Some may disagree with me, and that is perfectly okay. Whether you and I, do or do not agree about the Rapture, it will have no effect on our salvation in Jesus Christ. However, for those who disagree, I strongly believe that rather than my being sorely disappointed, you will be pleasantly surprised.

There are many differences in these two events as shown here:

· Rapture: Jesus comes FOR His Church.
· 2nd Coming: Jesus comes back WITH His Church.

· Rapture: Jesus waits in the air for His Church.
· 2nd Coming: Jesus comes to the earth.

· Rapture: Church removed and unbelievers left behind.
· 2nd Coming: Unbelievers removed but Tribulation saints left behind.

· Rapture: He comes to present His bride to the Father.
· 2nd Coming: He comes to judge and set up His kingdom.

· Rapture: The marriage of the Lamb in Heaven follows the Rapture.
· 2nd Coming: The marriage is followed by war on earth.

· Rapture: It happens in the twinkling of an eye.
· 2nd Coming: Will be a steady view of His return.

· Rapture: Only the Church will see Him.
· 2nd Coming: Every eye will see Him.

· Rapture: Jesus descends with a shout.
· 2nd Coming: No shout is mentioned.

· Rapture: A resurrection takes place.
· 2nd Coming: No resurrection is mentioned.

· Rapture: It can happen at any time.
· 2nd Coming: Can only happen at the end of the Tribulation.

· Rapture: Angels are not sent. Jesus comes Himself.
· 2nd Coming: Angels are sent to gather people for judgment.

· Rapture: Earthly bodies are changed to Heavenly bodies.
· 2nd Coming: The Church returns with Heavenly bodies.

· Rapture: Jesus does not return on a white horse.
· 2nd Coming: Jesus does return on a white horse.

· Rapture: Jesus’ return is for His Church (His bride).
· 2nd Coming: Jesus returns for redeemed Israel and Tribulation saints.

· Rapture: It is a message of hope and comfort.
· 2nd Coming: It is a message of judgment.

The seven year period of Tribulation on earth will be a time of God’s wrath on earth like never before. He will judge the nations and through this self-same judgment bring Israel back in faith believing. “For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:17) But concerning His bride, the Church, He says, “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thessalonians 1:10) He promised again in Revelation 3:10, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” (Revelation 3:10)

Also, some see Revelation chapter four verse one as a clear reference to the Church being raptured. On the other hand, some do not, even though they believe in the Rapture. Personally, it is very clear to me that this passage is most definitely referring to the Church being taken up to Heaven via the Rapture. This verse is shown below in four reliable English translations.

“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” (KJV)

“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, "Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this." (NKJV)

“After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." (ESV)

“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things." (NASB)

Note that in every instance verse one begins with the word “after” and ends the same. In chapter one of Revelation we see Jesus revealed (revelation) in His glory. In chapters two and three Jesus is speaking to the church. He then transfers the Apostle John to Heaven in chapter four verse one to continue the prophecy. In chapter one, we see the eternal “I Am.” In chapters two and three, we see the present day and age of the church period. Then beginning at chapter four, verse one He immediately takes us past the church age to the future.

If I go to see a play and there are three acts to the play, I will see one act after the other, not all three at once. Neither do they overlap in any way. If I attend a concert, I will listen to one song after the other, not all at one time. Neither do they overlap in any way. Neither do the church age and the Tribulation period co-exist or overlap in any way. One follows the other. As in a play, Act 1 comes BEFORE Act 2. Act 2 comes AFTER Act 1 and BEFORE Act 3. Act 3 comes AFTER Act 2. The Apostle John is shown the church age, and then he is raptured up to Heaven to see what follows the end of the church age. To me, you just can’t get any clearer than that. After means after.

Some say that the word “Rapture” is not in the Bible. That is true, and neither are the words “Bible” or “Trinity” found in the Bible, but they are just as true as the Rapture.

The word “Rapture” is derived from the Latin translation of “caught up” in

1 Thessalonians 4:17, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” The Latin translation uses the word “rapturo,” and this is where the word “rapture” is derived. The Greek word is “harpazo,” and it means:

1.     To seize, carry off by force
2.     To seize on, claim for one’s self eagerly
3.     To snatch out or away

A few other verses where “harpazo” is used are:

Acts 8:39, “And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.”

Acts 23:10, “And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.”

2 Corinthians 12:2-4, “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.”

So there is no doubt that Jesus will come in the clouds and eagerly claim His bride the Church for Himself, by seizing her and snatching her away by force to Heaven at the end of the church age. The next act will be the Tribulation, AFTER the Rapture.

The Tribulation period is a time of intense judgment by God. What groom would beat the living daylights out of his bride and then say, “Okay, now let’s go get married.” It ain’t going to happen.

Some say that the Church has suffered persecution down through the years, so why would she not suffer during the Tribulation? The reason is quite simple. “Persecution” has come from evil men who carry out the deeds of their father, the Devil. Judgment comes from God. The Tribulation, as I have already stated, is not persecution. It is judgment. God is not going to judge those who He has already promised will be protected from His wrath to come. (See verses above.) Conclusion; the Church will not go through any part whatsoever of the Tribulation. She will be raptured (LT-rapturo), snatched up (GK-harpazo), BEFORE the Tribulation, and the Tribulation will commence AFTER the Rapture.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Oil-The "Hook" In The Bear's Mouth?

Oil is without doubt humanity’s most important natural resource. When petroleum was first distilled in the 1800s, it was used as lamp oil and as lubrication for machinery. Over time, thousands of new uses have been found for oil. We have become so dependent on black gold, our Industrial Age would come to a complete standstill if the oil wells were to suddenly run dry.

The scarce nature of oil has made it the catalyst of dozens of military conflicts. About 80 percent of the world’s readily accessible reserves are located in the Middle East. It should come as no surprise that the Iran-Iraq, Gulf, and Iraq wars were all fought over oil.

The economic importance of oil is not lost on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Since coming to power in 2000, Putin has made restoring Russia’s strength his central goal. He has not been shy about using his nation’s energy supplies as an economic billy club against his neighbors. In 2009, Putin turned off gas supplies to pipelines to Kiev in the dead of winter leading to freezing cities across Eastern Europe as Russian gas stopped moving through Ukranian pipelines to other nations.

In recent years, he has worked diligently to turn his nation’s oil and gas wealth into a strategic advantage. A likely reason why Putin decided to back the much hated Syrian dictator Bashar Assad (after it became clear he had used chemical weapons against his own people), was because of the flow of energy. If a pipeline was to be built to supply the West with Iraqi or Iranian gas, it would have to go through Syria.

Putin’s latest strategic move came last month. China and Russia’s state owned energy giant, Gazprom, signed a $400 billion gas deal that will allow Russia to shift away from Europe. signed a $400 billion gas deal that will allow Russia to shift away from Europe.

Since Europe accounts for about 50 percent of the Gazprom’s revenues, the inclusion of China would allow Putin to thumb his nose at sanctions imposed as payback for the Russian takeover of Crimea.

When it comes to China’s energy usage, time is on Putin’s side. In 1980, Chinese oil consumption was at 2 million barrels per day (bpd). Today, it consumes over 10 million bpd. By 2020, its daily usage is expected to rise to the 18 million bpd.

Another way Putin has made himself immune to sanctions is by signing massive development deals with a host of Western oil firms. In the past few week alone, just about every Russian oil and gas company has signed a major deal that further integrates it with the rest of the world. Once a company spends billions to help Russia bring a remote oilfield online, they can’t afford to walk away from the project. Here are some of the deals:

1. Rosneft and BP formed a joint venture to explore in the Volga River Basin.
2. Lukoil and Total formed a joint venture to explore in western Siberia.
3. Rosneft and ExxonMobil inked a $400 billion exploration plan for Russia's arctic.
4. Rosneft contracted all of North Atlantic Drilling's fleet.|
5. Novatek signed a 15 year LNG supply deal with China National Petroleum.

U.S. foreign policy on oil has been adrift for the past several years. Washington DC sits idly by while Russia and China lock-up vast areas of the global oil reserves. A key reason for this lack of motivation is the belief that the ongoing fracking-led oil boom will driving America toward energy independence by around 2030.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) originally came up with this projection, but there is now great doubt about their numbers. Last month, the IEA suffered a huge embarrassment when it downgraded the potential amount of shale oil reserves in California by 96 percent. Just last week, they added a huge price tag to what it would take to make 2030 a reality. The IEA estimated that $48 trillion dollars would need to be invested to meet energy needs. There is no way we could raise this amount of money without pushing the cost of oil sky high.

The discovery of 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas beneath the Israeli controlled waters of the Eastern Mediterranean could disrupt Putin’s plan to control the energy market. The Russian leader will obviously do everything in his power to prevent Israel from entering the market in Europe. Envy over Israel’s gas discoveries could be the “evil thought” that gets Russia involved with the Muslim coalition that Ezekiel said will attack Israel.

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; it shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, to take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil?” (Ezekiel 38:10-13a).

Prophecy Watch...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Passenger Or Crew Member?

Adrian Rogers is considered the "Pastor's Pastor". On my Facebook page the other day, a post came up with a link to a message he delivered several years ago. He stated that most Christians think they’re on a cruise ship instead of a battle ship. When you sop and think about that statement, it makes a lot of sense.

He was referring to the fact that we Christians are in a spiritual war, but most don’t even know it. Most Christians think they’re just passengers, out to enjoy the ride and soak up the sun.

The Apostle Peter says in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6:11, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

Jesus says to His disciples in Luke 10:3, “Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.”

In the previous verse (Luke 10:2) Jesus says, “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.”

Taking from what Adrian Rogers was saying, and being honest that I have never been on a cruise ship, there are two groups of people; crew members and passengers.

Whether considering cruise ships vs. battle ships or passengers vs. crew members both lists comprise passengers, those who are working and those who are playing.

In a majority of churches today, there is a very small percentage of Christians that actually do anything that is work related. Those who work are the crew members. Everyone else just coasts along for the ride. They are the passengers. Of course they always want a piece of the action, if there is any, but they won’t lift a finger to get there. Mention food for example, and they’ll be right there with an appetite but little else.

Funny thing though, if you mention contributing some elbow grease to work that needs to be done around the church building only a handful will show up. If you mention going out together and visiting people, even fewer show up. They disappear like rats on a sinking ship.

I’ve noticed also in churches whose members rarely show their face, just announce an important business meeting that concerns some interest of theirs, [ie. getting rid of the pastor] they’ll be right there.

Well let’s face it. This is just the nature of most people. What we should strive for is to overcome that about ourselves, if it applies to us.

As a Christian, I realize that my responsibility is to be in the "center of God's will" for my life  in whatever the Lord requires of me. And I’m not busy working in order to be saved or to keep my salvation. That is already settled in Heaven. Jesus saved me. Jesus keeps me. So that isn’t it at all. My work is totally obedience related. We work at whatever He calls us to do because He is not just our Savior, but also our Lord. We live to serve Him.

Sadly, far, far too many who claim they are Christians are not serving the One they say saved them. Since there are only two masters, Jesus Christ and Satan, and they are not serving Jesus as Lord, then it must be Satan.

Probably all of us would like to be a passenger on a cruise ship, having all our needs met while we just relax and do nothing but have fun. Who wants to be a crew member and work the whole time while we could be playing? That seems to be the attitude of most Christians when it comes to serving Christ.

The one thing they miss though is that being the Lord’s crew member is by far more satisfying than being a vacationing passenger for the world. This is not talking about vacations on a real cruise ship, but about life. 

Ask your self these questions:
  • What mode is your life in? 
  • Are you a faithful servant of our Lord, or are you avoiding your Christian responsibilities? 
  • Is our life just one big “What can I do for me” or “What can I do for Jesus?”
It’s sad that most people strive their whole life for material things and activities in search for happiness, not realizing that true happiness is found in serving Jesus Christ. In other words, they strive for what is temporary instead of what is permanent.

I am not anti-fun, anti-vacations, etc. and neither is God, but when that consumes our time so much we have none left for Him, then it’s a problem.

Enjoy your leisure time, and your time off, but be sure there is plenty of time to do what you were called to do as a Christian; i.e. serve the Lord.

If every Christian got this message and acted upon it, many of our pastors would pass out from the shock. They wouldn’t know what to do or say when so many of the flock would actually volunteer to serve.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

How Do You DressTo Meet Your Lord In Worship?

We live in an age when shorts, sweatpants, and bare midriff (sometimes all at the same time) are considered acceptable attire for most churches. I have also noticed that more and more men are throwing away their suit and ties and taking on more extreme casual ware when they go to church.

I remember when the "tradition" of giving honor to our Lord, was by dressing up to meet with His people to worship Him.

And, I might be as bold to suggest that Scripture could, in fact, suggest this. In the parable told by Christ in Matthew 22:11-12, the king expected each of his guests to come with the proper “wedding garment.”  Not to do so was to show disrespect for the king and for the occasion.  In like manner, our forefathers felt it important to come to church with clothing that showed proper respect to the Lord and to the occasion.

As a child growing up, it was required that we take a bath on Saturday night, even if we needed it or not, in preparation for Sunday Church.

Today we swerve boldly in the other direction. We energetically oppose dressing especially for church. Many even consider it hypocritical to do so. We should come as we are and avoid any pretense. But do the dress patterns of today prove that we have a greater sincerity and are more genuine than our predecessors? I don't believe they do.

The slouchy dress that we see in worship services directly corresponds to our flippant attitude toward meeting with our Maker and Saviour. We have lost our respect for the spiritual dimension of God meeting with His people. Now, we want to dress like we would at a backyard barbecue. God is everywhere. Why approach His house with any more formality than we would enter the neighborhood grocery store?

The key word for today is comfort.  “Why shouldn’t I feel comfortable?  After all, my comfort is the main thing.  I’m not going to go out of my way for anyone–even God.” We exult in our come-as-you-are philosophy. Our services have become user-friendly for everyone except God. More and more, He seems to be left out in the cold. O how we love ourselves unto death!

The Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes may be a tradition that is quickly fading away.  But it was a good tradition and one whose parting is just another sign of the times–the last times.  Where is our sense of awe in the presence of God?  He says He dwells in the midst of us when we meet with Him (Matthew 18:20). The church is the people, not the building. When the people of the church meet, they become the “house of God” (1Timothy 3:15); they become His dwelling place. What a special privilege to enter into this presence!

Psalm 96:8-9 “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth."

When I meet with the congregation of the Lord, I count it not a burden, but an honor to give extra pains in preparation, in physical cleanliness, and in dressing up.  I count it a privilege to wear my Sunday best.  Any discomfort I may feel from a tie about my neck, from a coat about my body, or from clothes too good for playing kickball is offset by the solemnity and wonder of the occasion.

It is seldom that we in America get to suffer anything for the Saviour who suffered so much for us.  The least I can do (and I mean the least) is to honor Him by dressing more formally when I come to His church than I do for other events.  Certainly, I can suffer a necktie for Him.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Pervading Attitude Of The Church Today

There is a very dangerous attitude pervading the Church today, and it's an attitude of "It's all about me".

Consider these statistics of Christianity in America: Eighty-four percent of the inhabitants of this nation say they believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, according to one of Barna Group survey, and 45 percent claim to be born-again Christians. Other studies show it is closer to 33 percent.

Which ever numbers you use, they are high. 
  • Seventy-seven percent believe their chances of going to heaven are excellent. 
  • Thirty-three percent believe one day everyone will go to heaven. 

Yet America has:
  • the highest percentage of single-parent families in the industrialized world, 
  • the highest abortion rate,
  • the highest rate of sexually transmitted diseases, 
  • the highest rate of teenage birth by far, 
  • the highest rate of teenage drug use and 
  • the largest prison population per capita than any country in the world.

And, when you look at the great moral decline of the last generation (50 to 60 years) and the telling statistics of our society, you wonder how much time we have left. Here is what the statics are saying.
  • The divorce rate has doubled, 
  • teen suicide has tripled, 
  • reported violent crime has quadrupled, 
  • prison population has quintupled, 
  • percentage of babies born out of wedlock has risen sixfold, 
  • couples living together out of wedlock have increased sevenfold, 
  • and gay marriage is now a legalized reality in a number of states, with many believing the end is not in sight.
In this past generation, we have experienced an overwhelming increase in lawlessness, permissiveness and selfishness, even among Christians. Moral actions that were unthinkable a few decades ago are now commonplace—Christian leaders indulging in sexual sin and grossly immoral scandals, addicted to pornography and accompanied by an exploding divorce rate have greatly factored in the rapid decrease of morals in the American church. And as the church goes, so goes the world. 

The most staggering statics from the Barna Group survey is that among young American adults, the percentage who follow biblically based values for living has now dropped from 65 percent during World War II to a mere 4 percent today.

There has never been a society in the history of mankind whose moral values have deteriorated so dramatically, in such a short period of time, as those of Americans in the last 50 years. And so far it shows no sign of stopping. These statistics are eye-opening, and they serve to warn us that something is terribly wrong with our brand of Christianity. They reveal how poorly the church has communicated the true gospel to mainstream America, and thus the reason for so much deception in our culture.

When the rich man died and went to Hades (Luke 16:19-31), he was surprised to find himself there. In the Jewish culture, they equated wealth with godliness, so this man thought God favored him. The common thought, especially among the Jews, was if you were blessed financially, then you were a good person and therefore favored by God and on your way to heaven. This also explains the disciples' astonishment when Jesus told them how hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 19:23-25).

Similarly, there was a church in Laodicea (Rev 3:14-22) who, due to their wealth, thought they too had attained God's favor. Jesus expressed great disapproval over their spiritual condition as well, which they were totally unaware of. They were deceived.

Here are some questions that you should ask yourself:
  • Do you really know what your true spiritual condition is? 
  • Are you allowing the pop culture around you to dictate your standards? 
  • Are you conforming to the world's standards or to the Bible? 
  • Are you being deceived? 

How can a nation of people among whom a large percentage claims to be born-again Christians experience the kind of degradation the above statistics reveal? Such deception is the state of America today, and the above statistics reveal the fruit of it.

The problem has been that the real gospel has not been preached nor lived. 

Both the profession and the practice of many so-called Christians in this nation have not matched up. Our substandard message has produced substandard believers. Our departure from the preaching of the cross, repentance, holiness, and the real empowering grace of God has increased the level of deception in the church. How else can we explain the disparity of the above statistics in the church and the nation?

But what is really at the root of this deception? This is what we need to carefully discern. In one word, it is humanism—the glorification of self. 

Humanism has crept into much of the modern-day church and is diluting the power of the real gospel.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

THINKING OUT LOUD -- The Malaysian Airliner And Benghazi

As of late, I have been thinking of the “missing” Malaysian airliner. Here is what we have been told ... a jumbo jetliner somehow went off course, flew several hours then crashed into the Indian Ocean without word from the cockpit, without a trace.

As the time passes, I am having trouble buying this garbage!

And I am not the only one either. The Israelis don’t. They went on high-alert after the plane’s disappearance. What they’re looking for is that jet, appearing to be a normal civilian flight, being the vehicle for a nuclear attack.

Consider this -- Malaysia is a Muslim dominant country. The pilots were Muslim, along with two Iranians who used stolen passports to board the plane. To say that a commercial jet can go missing without a trace is implausible. This was not a military stealth aircraft. We’re told that the pilots altered the flight path and turned off the radio and transponder. To what end? Where were they going? To plan and execute such a maneuver just to fly aimlessly for five plus hours and then crash doesn’t make sense.

And here is another thought --Various nations have sophisticated satellite, aerial, ground and sea-based surveillance systems. They monitor all air traffic everywhere in the world. A missile can’t be launched without being spotted. Yet we’re told that this large aircraft simply went missing.

I believe this ro be a lie. I believe somebody, maybe several some bodies, including the US and China know where that plane went. It had a predetermined destination where to land, and it wasn’t in China.

Reading an article in which Retired Air Force Lt. General Thomas G. McInerney was quoted, "he believes that the plane flew to Pakistan or possibly Iran. It could’ve shadowed behind another flight headed to one of these nations, appearing on civilian radar as a single incoming plane. Such a plan, obviously would entail meticulous planning and execution. Wherever it landed, those in that nation and on the ground knew it was coming. It was the plane that was wanted.

The sad part is that we are left to surmise that the passengers were extraneous and likely eliminated. I believe that this plane had and has a purpose, something huge to justify the risk and publicity that such an operation entails.

General McInerney has contacts and resources, not to mention vast knowledge gleaned from a distinguished military career. His is not groundless theory.

There were reports that the missing plane had landed at Diego Garcia, an important British/U.S. military base in the Indian Ocean, implying direct US involvement. This is likely disinformation, but who knows. One would guess that if the U.S. were involved, they’d use surrogates away from U.S. bases to land it.

There was another possibility that was circulating and does have credence to consider; it is a remote possibility, but one to ponder. The Malaysian flight could’ve been carrying some type of weapon, tactical nuke, EMP, etc. on behalf of a state actor like China. If it were headed to Diego Garcia, under any guise, the question would be, would it be allowed to approach or would U.S. forces shoot down a civilian jumbo jet?

Now this would be purely speculation on anyone's part. Neither the US or China would want such an event to be made public, but again, just something to think about.

We still don't know what happened in Benghazi. And with a president who is pro-islamic, we may never know for sure; on either of these matters.

I don't believe that we can trust our government to be truthful with the American people -- so far we haven't had any indication that they have, and just not this present administration. This goes back many years, folks, and that's why it is hard to be truthful..

Through all of this, we can say for a certainty that we are "are living in the 'mid night' hour."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Who Is The Restrainer Mentioned In 2 Thessalonians 2?

Out of all the varying eschatological views, the Pre-Tribulation view is the strongest and most scripturally consistent advocate of God’s dealings with man in the entire Bible. You can see it in typology, symbolism, and in both the OT and NT passages. It is found in the Prophets, the Psalms, the Gospels, the Epistles, and in Revelation. The Pre-Tribulation view remains the most scripturally consistent view within God’s purpose and plan for man’s redemption.

The Pre-Tribulation view argues that there is a future fulfillment to the prophetic text, the full Preterist view states it all happened in the first century. Every other view has to rely on extra-biblical sources, allegorizing, spiritualization, or other ways to get around the literal understanding of the passages. In regards to the Tribulation, the Futurist’s bottom line is, although man will endure trials and tribulation in this life, God does not pour out His wrath upon His own.
  • Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:5-8 (NKJV)
Below are different ideas of those thoughts as to who this restrainer is.
  • The restrainer is the apostasy and revelation of the lawless one. 
  • The restrainer was the Roman government. 
  • The restrainer is the system of human government. 
  • The restrainer is Michael the Archangel. 
  • The Restrainer is the Holy Spirit working through the Church. 
  • The restrainer is Satan. 
Many within the Amillennial / Preterist viewpoint have taught that Rome was the restrainer. The Apostle Paul was writing to a first century church who at that time, were under the persecution of Caesar Nero. Preterist and Amillennialists devotees want very much for Nero to be the ‘man of lawlessness’ because it fits into their historical narrative that all (or most) prophecy was finished prior to AD 70.

Their argument was/is that the Roman system and Nero’s suicide prevented Nero from fully wiping out the early church. The major problem with this is that Nero wasn’t destroyed in keeping with the passage in 2 Thessalonians 2:8, but committed suicide. Preterist and others have to rely on extra-biblical accounts to try and paint Nero as the Antichrist (Pliny the Elder, Suetonius) to get this. But this view is still perpetuated by the Roman Catholic Church, which allows that blame to be laid at the feet of dead, pagan Caesars and not on them.

Amillennial and Post-Millennial believe that all governments are emplaced by God (Romans 13:1-7), and that it is only under God’s sovereignty do they still wield control (albeit limited) over the earth, therefore God only allows them to do so much, and then He restrains them, or uses them to restrain evil.

But since the days of Nimrod and Babel, human government has almost always been at odds against God and His plan of redemption for mankind. We know that the Tribulation is a time unlike any other, as the entire world will fall under the sway of the ultimate, one-world government, which will be under the control of the Antichrist. (Rev. 13:7) Seeing human government as the restrainer of evil, (Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Ottomans, Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, Communist China, etc.) when they are one of the primary instigators of evil, is laughable. In fact, God does laugh at this. (Psalm 2)

To come to this erroneous conclusion, one would have to do some serious reworking of most of the major terms and structure as found in 2 Thessalonians 2. For those who hold this view, the phrase ‘taken out of the way’ does not mean taken out of the way, but means ‘to come into being’. The Rapture is in conjunction with or right before the Second Coming, which in reality is very confusing.

The only problem with the above three views, is that none of them could be the ‘he’ used in 2 Thessalonians 2: 7. The ‘He’ is used as a masculine personal pronoun, and is used in direct relation to the Restrainer. Neither the Roman or human government, nor the revelation of the lawless one, could be referred to in that manner. The ‘He’ denotes a person, or sentient being and not a thing or system. 

That leaves us with only three legitimate contenders:
  • Michael the Archangel 
  • Satan 
  • The Holy Spirit 
Both Michael and Satan are angels, and they are neither omnipresent nor omnipotent. In other words, they are confined physically by both space and time.

The case for Michael being the Restrainer, stems primarily from three sections of Scripture:Daniel 10:3, 20-21, 12:1; Jude 1:9; & Revelation 12:7-9. In each instance, Michael is seen as the one who contends against Satan and his demonic forces at specific times. The problem is, is that these instances are too specific, meaning, that this is not Michael’s role in general, but as a special assignment solely to the nation of Israel or as directed by God. There is no Scripture citing Michael the Archangel as the restrainer of lawlessness (keeping in context with 2 Thess. 2). The best case that can be made is in Revelation 12:7-9, as Michael and the angels war with Satan and his, and cast them out of heaven. Even then, that is not restraining, but active warfare.

One of the more bizarre candidates that are offered for “the” restrainer is Satan himself. Why would he restrain himself? But still, the text would have to read something like this for Satan to be the ‘restrainer’: 
  • Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he [Antichrist] may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He [Satan]who now restrains will do so until He [Satan] is taken out of the way [Insert Rev 12:7-8 here]. And then the lawless one [Antichrist] will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:5-8 [my notes in brackets]
Satan would have to restrain himself, until Satan is taken out of the way, only to come back and indwell a person known as the Antichrist. So at the mid-point of the Tribulation, Satan is kicked out of heaven and he indwells the man who is Antichrist. In theory that seems plausible, except that Jesus unleashes this rider on the white horse back in the 1st Seal and he was the Antichrist then, long before Satan ever indwells him.

And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” Genesis 6:3

It appears at least according to the Scriptures, that the Holy Spirit had an active role here on planet earth prior to the Flood. In the absence of written Scriptures or historical references, the Holy Spirit would have convicted men of sin and guided their conscience unto doing what was right. This certainly makes the case for Enoch as a type of the Church who is ‘caught up’ prior to the Flood.

The Apostle John tells us in 1 John 2:18-23 that ‘many antichrist’s have come’ and that the spirit of antichrist denies Christ is God in the flesh. The spirit of antichrist is a spiritual battle that requires the Restrainer to also be spiritual. And since many religions, philosophies, and peoples deny Christ all around the world, the only Person who is omnipresent and omnipotent, is God the Holy Spirit.

Born again believers are sealed until the day of Redemption (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Eph 1:11-14), which means when the Holy Spirit is withdrawn, those He indwells are as well. Now, the Holy Spirit is God, and is omnipresent by His very nature, so it’s not like He is removed physically, because that is not possible. His role of restraint is removed (see Genesis 6:3 again) which is done through removing the body of Christ that has remained on this earth for these last 2,000 years.

The age of the Church had a beginning, and it’s only logical to conclude that it will also have an ending. The birth of the Church had a dramatic and powerful beginning as the Holy Spirit descended down as ‘cloven tongues like as of fire’ upon those believers in Acts 2.

Likewise will the removal of the Holy Spirit be a dramatic departure from this earth as believers (dead and alive) are resurrected and translated from mortal, to immortal, from perishable to imperishable. Prior to the Holy Spirit descending down in Acts 2, no orthodox Christian denies that the Holy Spirit existed, because we can see the Holy Spirit’s role in Creation as early back as Genesis 1:2. Yet, when it comes to the Rapture and the Holy Spirit's role as the Restrainer, many reject that out of hand as unbiblical.

The Church in and of itself cannot restrain evil, because we are but flawed humans. But through the working and power of the Holy Spirit (John 15:26-27, 16:5-15), we can do all things through Christ.

Christ called Him the Helper or Comforter, because for us, He is. But to the world, He is the Restrainer who judges the world of sin and keeps Satan’s plans from manifesting and completely enveloping the world in evil. It is not until the Church is removed, that the world will be thrown into a literal hell on earth. [See Revelation 6-19] But until that Day, Christ promised...
  • ...I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:18-19
Even so,  come Lord Jesus, Amen.

Monday, April 14, 2014

What Does Passover Mean To You?

This week is Passover Week in the life of the Jewish Nation. Here is an interesting take on the idea of Passover.

Passover's centrality in the American culture, state of mind and ethos has been evident from the 17th century Pilgrims and the 18th century Founding Fathers, until today.

1. The Passover legacy constitutes the foundation of Judaism, and is therefore included in most Jewish blessings (“in memory of the Exodus”). Passover symbolizes the rejuvenation of nature and mankind, spiritually and physically, individually and collectively/nationally. Passover stipulates that human rejuvenation – just like the rejuvenation of nature – must be driven by memory/history/roots. Therefore, parents are instructed to educate their children about the lessons of Passover. Passover was an early – and much more successful – edition of the (19th century) Spring of Nations. It is celebrated in the spring, the bud of nature. The biblical scroll of Song of Songs, which highlights spring, is read during Passover. Spring, Aviv in Hebrew (אביב) consists of two Hebrew words: Father – אב - of 12 – יב – months/tribes. Spring is mentioned 3 times in the Torah, all in reference to the Exodus. Passover – which commemorates the creation of the Jewish nation – lasts seven days, just like the creation of the universe.

2. Passover is the oldest Jewish national liberation holiday, highlighting the comprehensive nature of Judaism: religion, nationality, culture/morality, language and history. Passover underlines the centrality of spiritual, physical, individual and national liberty and optimism, playing a critical role in preserving Judaism, Jews and the yearning to reconstruct the Jewish Homeland during the super-challenging 40 years in the desert and the 2,500 years of exiles, destruction, pogroms, the Holocaust, wars and terrorism.

Passover – the role model of faith, education, morality, responsibility and governance driven liberty – interacts with Shavou’ot/Pentecost – the role model of morality. Liberty and morality are mutually-inclusive. The interdependence of liberty and morality distinguishes Western democracies from rogue regimes – a clash of civilizations.

The Hebrew word for “responsibility” – אחריות – encompasses the word “liberty” – חירות. It begins with the leading letter in the Hebrew alphabet, א, and ends with the last letter of the alphabet, ת – encompassing the total responsibility of leadership.

The Exodus is mentioned 50 times in the Torah, equal to the 50 years of the Jubilee, a time of liberation. 50 days following the Exodus, Moses received the Torah (the Pentecost Holiday), which includes – according to Jewish tradition – 50 gates of Wisdom. What does that mean for the 50 States in the USA, whose Hebrew name is ארצות הברית – the States of the Covenant?!

According to Heinrich Heine, the 19th century German poet, “Since the Exodus, freedom has always spoken with a Hebrew accent.”

3. Passover, and especially the Exodus/Liberty, were the pillars of fire guiding the twelve tribes of Israel, and the thirteen American colonies, from subjugation to sovereignty. The Passover legacy comprises a critical part of the American story. Moses, the US Founding Fathers and Israel’s Founding Father, Ben Gurion, were challenged by the “loyalists,” who were intimidated by the price/sacrifice of liberty, preferring subjugation to Egypt, the British King and the British Mandate. They featured in prior editions of the clash of civilizations against Pharaoh, the British monarchy and church and the Arab/Muslim world. The latter still rejects non-Muslim (“infidel”) sovereignty in any area considered – by Muslims – to be the abode of Islam (e.g., Spain and Portugal, southern France, Israel, etc.).

4. Passover’s centrality in the American culture, state of mind and ethos has been evident from the 17th century Pilgrims and the 18th century Founding Fathers, until today. The Pilgrims considered Britain “the modern day Egypt,” the British king was “the modern day Pharaoh,” the sail through the Atlantic Ocean was “the modern day parting of the sea” and America was “the modern day Promised Land/New Canaan.” In 1775, the president of Harvard University, Samuel Langdon, said that “the Jewish government [that God handed down to Moses] was a perfect republic.” Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” (the cement of the 1776 Revolution) referred to King George as “the hardened, sullen tempered Pharaoh of England.” The root of the term Federalism is “Foedus,” the Latin word for “The Covenant.” The Founding Fathers studied the political structure of the semi-independent 12 Tribes (the colonies), which were governed by tribal presidents (the governors) and by Moses (the Executive), Aaron (the Judiciary) and the 70 Elders (the Legislature). John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin proposed the “Parting of the Sea” as the official US seal. George Washington and John Adams, the first and second presidents, were compared to Moses and Joshua. Washington was eulogized as Moses and Virginia was compared to Goshen.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

What We Know For Sure About End Times Prophecy

The more that I study and teach end times prophecy, I realize that there is much we don’t know about God’s timing for end-time events simply because we won’t know until they happen. We have what the Bible says and we take that information and use that as a lens by which we view current events through, what we call as 'exegesis'.

The reverse of this tries to fit current events into the pages of the Bible, which is known as eisegesis. In other words, they are assuming a correlation and implying that xyz must mean this passage, because of abc. That is what we should avoid at all cost from doing. The one thing that we do know, is that God’s word is sure, and it will come to pass on God’s time.

The preaching of the ‘Blessed Hope’ has become a very sensitive subject amongst many a church. Many churches don’t teach it, because they feel as though it is too ‘divisive’ a topic. Still others don’t teach it because it undermines their church-expansion programs here on earth. Overarching both of these is the ever increasing attack on Dispensationalism and Pre-Tribulationism, which insists upon a consistent, literal interpretation of the Bible.

As I was growing up many years ago, pastors, teachers, and theologians had a convenient trick that if they didn't understand something, or it didn’t fit your agenda, they simply make it allegorical, or spiritual, and relegate it to the “pie in the sky” section of their mental filing cabinets. In other words it was out of sight, out of mind.

But, what I have seen in the last few years is that there is a small minority that continue to watch and anticipate the Lord’s return. Like those of the faithfuls who anticipated Christ’s first coming (they knew because they took the Old Testament prophets seriously), and many of those today, I find are in the older group and they are becoming smaller in number.

As with anything that is of a Spiritual nature concerning prophecy and end time events, and those called "watchmen on the walls," there are also those you conspire and try to prosper from this. They are shysters.

Even though in Eschatology there are dreams and visions, studies in numbers, we have to go with what we know, and then, use Scripture to interpret what we see in the here and now...not the other way around.

Here are some things we actually know and what we can know with a high degree of certainty. Some of these events are yet future, but we can simply look around today and see things are unfolding exactly, as God’s word said it would and follow those to their logical and scriptural conclusions.

  • We know that from Adam to the Noahic flood, was roughly 1656 years.
  • We know that God is long suffering, that none should perish. [2 Peter 3:9]
  • We know that we are now around 1,982 years since Christ departed earth after His resurrection. (Using 32 AD as a starting point)
  • We know that God hates sin, and His patience will soon be removed. God will not just keep tolerating man’s gross descent into abject perversity forever. Scripturally, there is a limit to God’s longsuffering...and we are currently 326 years further along than when God decided to destroy the world by water in Noah’s day. [Ex: Genesis 6:4-6; 11:5-9; 18:20-21]
  • We know that since the days of Alexander the Great, Europe has dominated the world in one form or another (Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Spanish, French, German, British, American).
  • We know that Rome (legs) was the dominant Gentile power in Christ’s day, so we too should expect the latter form (toes) of this Roman Empire when Christ comes to finish what He started. [Daniel 2:40-43, 7:7-8, 23-25]
  • We know that if an economic collapse comes, we should expect to see a major realignment in the global power structure.
  • We know according to Scripture, that the ‘fullness of the Gentiles’ (both politically and spiritually) will not continue indefinitely, but has a shelf life. [Luke 21:24; Romans 11:25]
The United States:
  • We know that if an US economic collapse were to happen today, the world will be thrown into an unprecedented period of economic instability.
  • We know the current world's financial system, hinges on a stable US dollar.
  • We know that if the US collapses (politically/economically), the EU will have to rise in order to fill the power vacuum left behind by its young protégé. The alternatives are: Russia, China, or a Muslim conglomeration—all choices not very palatable to the west.
  • We know absent a strong, pro-Israeli United States, the likelihood of a Psalm 83 and Isaiah 17 event is inevitable. We see the rumblings even now, with just a weak President who is wavering on supporting Israel.
  • We know historically, that Muslims and Jews weren’t exactly the best of friends, but there was some sense of toleration. Ever since the rebirth of the nation Israel, Islam has become exceedingly violent and chaotic toward the Jews, almost now to the point of frenzy.
  • We know Israel’s massive natural gas find will place them as one of the world’s largest (if not the largest) natural gas exporter in the world, bringing in unprecedented wealth and status to tiny Israel.
  • We know The Russia Magog Prophecy ( Russia, Turkey, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and other factions) coalition will come on the heels of an Israeli victory (Psalm 83/Isaiah 17) and try to hit them while their guard is down for both their natural resources (gas) and out of hatred (Islamic fervor). [Ezekiel 38]
Global Signs:
  • We know more people have died due to war, famine, pestilence, and natural disasters in the 20th century, than in the previous 20 centuries combined.
  • We know that the total number, variance in magnitude, and variation in location of earthquakes and volcanic activity have been increasing since 1948. Unknown fault lines and previously dormant volcanoes are becoming active again. [Luke 21:10-11] Example
  • We know the world’s technological advancements in science, astronomy, communications, entertainment, financial, travel, and weaponry have dramatically increased since 1948.
  • We know the world is increasingly becoming inter-dependent (financially, politically, and militarily) since the end of World War II: UN, EU, NATO, OPEC, SCO, UofM, NAFTA, NAU, ASEAN, etc.
  • We know that there are more Christian (Messianic) Jews living inside Israel today, than at any point in recent history.
  • We know that there are now more born again Christians living outside the United States, than within it.
  • We know that according to Scriptures, what passes as Christianity in the last days will largely be unprepared, apostate, and lukewarm. This speaks primarily to the western Gentile Christendom who has not endured much, if any physical persecution at all in the last 300 years. [2 Timothy 4:3; 2 Peter 3:3-7; 1 John 2:17-19; Revelation 3:3, 14-22;]
  • We know that Jesus stated that when He returns, there would be a sense of normalcy and would catch people unprepared. [Luke 17:25-30]
  • We know the Kingdom of God will not be back on earth, until the Beast’s empire is destroyed. [Daniel 2:44-45, 2 Thessalonians 2:8, Revelation 19:11-21]
  • We know there is a more pervasive battle for the right of Christianity to exist in the marketplace of ideas. Militant atheism, secular humanism, and the homosexual agenda have all but stamped out Christianity from the government and public education arenas. Their ideological bloodlust is not yet sated, and won’t be until any true message of Jesus Christ is removed altogether from the United States and the west. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood… [Eph 6:12]
  • We know that there is a massive spiritual battle going on in the 10/40 window, between Christians and the aggressive spread of Islam. Battlegrounds today include the Philippines, Malaysia, China, and central Africa. Even more violent and bloody atrocities are occurring inside various Muslim countries, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. The African and Asian persecution is just a foretaste of what is coming to the west. 
  • We know that there is direct correlation between the spiritual and physical battles that Christianity is facing today…one over a valid doctrinal theology, the other over its very existence. 
  • We know that Christ said He would come again and receive us unto Himself, and God is not a man that He should lie. [Numbers 23:19; John 14:1-3]
  • Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. [Revelation 3:11 NJKV]