December 2012 archives of www.christconnection.net down below
MONDAY, DECEMBER 31,2012
WHO'LL FINISH THE JOB ?
Must Christians reach the whole world with the Gospel in order for Jesus to return ?
I have heard more than one preacher use this line as a fund raising gimmick, telling the audience that, as they give for "the Gospel", they are "hastening" THE RETURN OF JESUS.
In fact, nothing that preposterous is found in the Bible, and MOST of the money donated DOESN'T go to "preaching the Gospel" but to making the lying televangelist EVEN RICHER, and his lifestyle even more opulent.
Jesus did command His disciples to "go into ALL THE WORLD and preach the Gospel" [Mark 16:15].
EVERY Christian, whether minister or layperson, is called by God to preach the Gospel, speak to others about Jesus, and win souls to Jesus.
We should ALL be doing that, in one way or another, UNTIL the moment He raptures us unto Himself.
Will we get the job done before He returns? NO.
But what about Matthew 24:14 "And THIS gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world for a witness to all nations, and then the end will come"?
Oh, that'll happen, FOR SURE. But nowhere does it say it's CHRISTIANS who'll reach the whole world before THE END comes.
Revelation 14:6 says very clearly that, during the 3½-year tribulation there's A SPECIAL ANGEL sent to FINISH THE JOB:
"Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had THE ETERNAL GOSPEL to preach to those who live on the earth--to every nation, tribe, language and people".
God has ALWAYS sent HUMANS to preach the Gospel. Never before has He sent angels to do it.
The reason God, for the first time in history, sends AN ANGEL to preach the Gospel is because by then ALL THE CHRISTIANS WILL BE GONE.
Had Christians gotten the job done and reached the whole world before they were raptured, God would have no need to send an angel a couple years later to re-preach it.
Were there Christians on earth AT THAT TIME, there would be NO NEED to send an angel.
The fact is many people will heed the angel's message, believe the Gospel, receive Jesus as God and Savior, and be saved during the tribulation, even while the Antichrist is reigning, as we see in Revelation 14:13-16, and in the next chapter, Revelation 15:2.
Last, but not least, there's NO SUCH THING as "hastening" the return of Jesus [Isaiah 46:10; Mark 13:32].
The day and hour of both, the Church's Rapture and His Second Coming, were predetermined long before time even EXISTED.
"Give in order to hasten the return of Jesus" may be a convenient fund-raising gimmick, but NO SUCH THING IS FOUND IN SCRIPTURE.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2012
FAITHFUL OVER LITTLE
"...Well done, you good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter into the joy of your lord" [Matthew 25:21].
When we compare the leaders in the Early Church with today's Laodicean "leaders", the latter don't stack up very well.
In fact, they're AN EMBARRASSMENT.
I recently watched a video on YouTube where a certain famed televangelist accuses the pastor of a large congregation of being a "demon possessed coward" for refusing to say on national TV that Jesus is the only way of salvation.
Except for the demon-possession part, the televangelist is right on THIS, IF ON NOTHING ELSE.
The "pastor" retaliated with a YouTube video of his own where he shows clips of predictions given by the televangelist, which never came to pass, and accuses him of being "a false prophet".
Since both their "ministries" are based in Texas, I call it "Showdown at the Televangelist Corral".
This is both puerile and pathetic.
Materialistically speaking, leaders in the Early Church had NOTHING.
No cars, no planes, no TV studios, DVD'S, CD's, Internet or infomercials; no publishing companies, no printing press, not even so much as a business card.
All they had was A MESSAGE.
Of course, they also had A RISEN SAVIOR.
The Savior IS JUST AS RISEN TODAY as He was back then.
And His message hasn't changed.
It's the "leaders" who have changed.
It's the "leaders" who have COMPROMISED the integrity of The Gospel.
It's the "leaders" who have INVENTED a false Gospel of GREED.
It's the "leaders" who have turned Jesus and Christianity into A BUSINESS.
95% of today's so-called "ministries" are NOTHING BUT FOR PROFIT CORPORATIONS.
Instead of using TV, radio, Internet, and publications to SPREAD THE TRUE GOSPEL, and strengthen the fundamentals of the faith, they have used it for self-indulgence: to become zillionaires, live like mega celebrities, peddle their useless wares, and provide third-rate "entertainment" in the form of religious fluff.
When the pastor of the "largest Church in America" CANNOT EVEN LOOK INTO A TV CAMERA -- with NO ONE even threatening him -- and say THAT JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY OF SALVATION, YOU KNOW the Gospel is being GROSSLY COMPROMISED.
It's no wonder, then, than confusion and false doctrine run rampant.
It's no wonder, then, that one can hardly tell the difference between evangelical Christianity and CULTS.
It's no wonder, then, that it's THE WORLD that has gotten INTO the Church, instead of the Church going INTO the world, as our Lord commanded [Mark 16:15].
If I were any of today's "high profile" church "leaders", I'd start repenting now, BEFORE they come FACE TO FACE WITH THEIR LORD.
If the apostles accomplished SO MUCH with SO LITTLE, I'd hate to see these jokers explain HOW THEY DID SO LITTLE WITH SO MUCH.
Jesus DESERVES BETTER.
And He's got EVERY RIGHT to expect A LOT MORE from people who've been given SO MUCH.
"... to whom MUCH WAS GIVEN, of him MUCH WILL BE REQUIRED".
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2012
THE END OF ATHEISM
"...has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" [1 Corinthians 1:20].
If we increased the molecular speed of any object in front of us to the speed of light, it would vanish right before our eyes.
It would disappear. You'd THINK it wasn't there, your eyes would tell you it wasn't there, WHEN in reality IT'S JUST AS MUCH THERE AS IT WAS A MOMENT AGO, only you can't see it, nor detect it with any of the senses.
God is spirit. Spirit beings exist in the realm of light. They move at the speed of light. Hence, while we remain in these earthly bodies, they're invisible to us. But are they real? You bet!
If you were transferred from this physical, earthly realm into the realm of light, you'd become invisible to us here on earth, but you'd be VERY VISIBLE AND TANGIBLE to beings in that other realm.
That's EXACTLY what'll happen at the Rapture.
We will be transformed from natural, vulnerable, mortal beings into supernatural, invulnerable, immortal, LIGHT BEINGS.
God IS light. In Him is NO DARKNESS AT ALL [1 John 1:5].
We already bear His Image [light] in our spirits. At the Rapture His Image will transform our soul [mind] and our body into His incorruptible Image [Romans 8:29; Philippians 3:21].
We'll become manifested sons of God [Romans 8:19].
Soon thereafter, when the Antichrist begins to rule the entire world, there won't be A SINGLE ATHEIST or AGNOSTIC.
There won't be any Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, New Agers, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, members of United Church of God, Christian Science, Scientologists, Masons, or any other heretics, regardless of what they may call themselves.
EVERYONE who remains on earth will be FORCED to take sides: God or Satan. Christ or Antichrist [Revelation 13:16-18].
There will be NO OTHER OPTIONS.
The financial systems of this world will have crumbled, and a new financial system based on unswerving allegiance to the Antichrist will be instituted. So, don't kid yourself that any wealth, notoriety, or influence you may presently have will help you then.
All the human "reasoning" in the world won't help you then.
All the "enlightened logic" you THINK you have, won't do you ANY good.
All the skepticism you pride yourself in, will mean squat.
You won't doubt or deny there's a God. You'll KNOW.
You'll also KNOW there's a Satan.
There will be ONLY TWO CHOICES [Revelation 20:4].
You can choose Jesus now, out of love, and be transferred into His brilliant Presence very soon.
Or you can make your choice while Antichrist reigns, based on coercion and fear.
Choosing Jesus NOW only costs your heart.
Choosing Jesus THEN will cost your life.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2012
Have you ever walked into a place, a building, home, apartment or shop where you just sense something unsettling or evil? Where the atmosphere seems to be charged with spiritual darkness?
If you have, it isn't just your imagination.
What you sensed is very real.
I've even detected this as I've arrived in certain countries, cities, or even certain parts of town.
There are also specific types of music, songs, paintings, and other artistic expressions that are infused with spiritual turbulence.
Since this is spiritual in nature, it's invisible to physical eyes. The Bible talks about such spiritual forces in Ephesians 6:12:
"For our struggle is NOT against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm".
Ephesians 2:2 refers to Satan. as "the prince of the power of the air".
The Greek word aeros, meaning "air", also refers to the lower layers of the atmosphere.
The Good News is we can CHANGE THE ATMOSPHERE.
Many Christians either thru sin, attitude, or ignorance, have allowed dark spiritual forces to build strongholds over their lives, and don't even know it.
It's easier to detect strongholds in other people's lives. Strongholds in our own lives, however, are much harder to detect because, over time, we become ACCUSTOMED to them.
I'm NOT suggesting that EVERY bad THING that's happened in your life is the result of a spiritual stronghold. We have brought a lot of it upon ourselves.
Facing facts and taking personal responsibility are essential steps in overcoming WHATEVER we're facing.
We're also influenced, to some extent, by politics, the economy, and other people's actions. So, DON'T GO LOOKING FOR STRONGHOLDS.
However, if every time you take a step forward it seems that, despite your best efforts, you get pushed three steps back, and this situation persists, you definitely ARE dealing with a stronghold.
If there seems to be NO LOGICAL explanation for what you're going thru, chances are you are dealing with a stronghold.
Every Christian should conduct a regular atmospheric cleansing over his or her life. Parents should do this over their homes and families at least once a month [2 Corinthians 10:5].
We do this in Jesus' Name and Authority, and by His cleansing Blood.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 tells us:
"For the weapons of our expedition are NOT CARNAL, but mighty through God TO THE PULLING DOWN OF STRONGHOLDS:Casting down arguments, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ".
It's no coincidence that Ephesians 1:21 tells us that our Lord is "FAR ABOVE all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, AND [ABOVE] EVERY NAME THAT IS NAMED, not only in THIS world, but also in that which is to come".
Jesus HAS DESTROYED and will DESTROY EVERY stronghold in your life.
When we welcome His Holy Spirit into our lives and invite Him to saturate the atmosphere around us with His Presence, we can experience a bit of heaven on this crazy, messed up earth.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2012
WHAT IF WE ALL KEPT THE LAW?
What IF we ALL kept God's law?
And just so we're clear, I'm not talking merely about keeping the 10 Commandments, but about the WHOLE law (torah), ALL 613 commandments.
There are certain segments in Christendom who INSIST, despite Jesus' death and Resurrection, despite the shedding of His precious Blood, and despite the fact He made a NEW covenant of GRACE, that law (torah) keeping is STILL required.
Let's indulge their religious fantasy for a moment.
NO ONE, other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, has EVER KEPT the whole law. NO ONE.
But hypothetically speaking, WHAT IF we COULD? WHAT IF we DID?
What if we NEVER broke a single commandment?
WE would STILL BE LOST.
Why? Because the REAL problem has NEVER BEEN what we do or don't do outwardly.
The REAL problem has ALWAYS BEEN on the inside.
The REAL problem, the reason we'd still be lost, is BECAUSE OF OUR FALLEN NATURE.
Even if we could keep the law to perfection, all of our lives, and NEVER break EVEN ONE of the 613 commandments, WE would STILL HAVE A SINFUL NATURE which we inherited from Adam.
And NO AMOUNT OF TORAH (law) KEEPING can change that SINFUL nature.
Even if we did EVERYTHING "by the law" ON THE OUTSIDE, the REAL PROBLEM would STILL REMAIN ON THE INSIDE.
Keeping the law will never change anyone's heart.
That's why Salvation CANNOT be earned or deserved.
That's why Salvation can ONLY be by Grace.
That's why Paul said, CLEAR AS CRYSTAL, that "BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW NO ONE SHALL BE JUSTIFIED" [Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:20].
It's ONLY by Jesus' precious Blood, and by His Grace, that God puts a NEW HOLY NATURE INSIDE those who come to Him by faith.
He puts HIS OWN HOLY NATURE INSIDE US [John 3:3, 5; 2 Peter 1:4; 2 Corinthians 5:21].
That's PRECISELY what happens when we're born again.
We don't deserve it. Yet His OWN righteous Nature is His LOVE GIFT to ALL who receive Him.
NOTHING ELSE can save us.
NOTHING ELSE will save us.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2012
The Christian church in America is the richest, least persecuted, most comfortable group of believers in its 2,000-year history.
Yet, for the most part, it lacks authority, lacks conviction and, Lord knows, it lacks INFLUENCE.
Instead of exhibiting world-transforming power, as did the Early Church, it's the world that has become Church-transforming... to the point it's hard to differentiate between the Church and the world.
The Early Church didn't have much money.
Didn't have much education.
Didn't have political favor.
Didn't have fancy homes.
Didn't have Kristian TV.
Didn't have Kristian radio.
Didn't have Kristian movies.
Didn't have computers, phones or Internet.
Didn't have airplanes, cars, or even horses and buggies.
Didn't have copiers, scanners, faxes or printing press.
Didn't have books, cassettes, cd's or dvd's.
Didn't have Christian theme jewelry and trinkets.
Didn't have Christian t-shirts.
Didn't have Christian amusement parks.
Didn't have Christian cruises.
Didn't take luxury vacations.
Didn't earn huge salaries.
Didn't HAVE salaries.
Didn't have their inept relatives on the payroll.
They had no payrolls.
Didn't have Christian games and puzzles.
Didn't have Christian art.
Didn't have fancy cathedrals or church buildings.
Didn't have Christian schools.
Didn't have Christian colleges or seminaries.
Didn't have "SUCCESS" SEMINARS.
Didn't have "nutrition" seminars.
Didn't have designer clothes.
Didn't have embroidered doves on their lapels to feign "special anointing" or spiritual superiority.
Didn't have large staffs, bodyguards or fancy entourages.
Didn't have their names on display in famous designer's storefront windows.
Didn't have wigs, false eyelashes, or artificial fingernails.
Didn't have make-up or cosmetic surgery.
Didn't have beg-a-thons.
Didn't have fund raisers.
Kinda makes you wonder HOW those poor Christians managed to get along...
Didn't give out Christian awards.
Didn't have recording artists.
Didn't have Christian composers.
Didn't have Christian comedians.
Didn't have Christian "power" teams [which may have physical power, but no spiritual power].
Didn't have Christian songs or music.
Didn't have recording studios, or fancy sets.
Didn't have "faith gurus", "prosperity gurus", "success gurus", "health gurus", "kingdom gurus", so-called "life coaches", or even prophecy gurus!
Didn't have phony "miracles".
Didn't have worldly comforts.
Didn't have safety and security.
Didn't have fancy food.
Didn't know what they were going to eat, drink or where they'd spend the night in most cases.
Didn't have Christian news services.
Didn't have satellites, or remote control.
DIDN'T HAVE advertising budgets.
DIDN'T HAVE prayer lines, or prayer counselors.
DIDN'T HAVE lying televangelists.
No Christian infomercials [imagine that!]
No Christian "celebrities".
Not many fancy titles.
No Bible dictionaries or concordances.
They didn't EVEN HAVE BIBLES!!!
Let me tell you what they DID HAVE!
They had deep-rooted conviction, since being a Christian often meant LOSING YOUR LIFE.
They had to completely TRUST God, WITH ALL THEIR HEARTS, since they lived from moment to moment, rarely knowing what the next moment would bring.
They had to LIVE IN DEEP COMMUNION WITH THE SPIRIT, AND RELY CONSTANTLY ON THE HOLY SPIRIT, for strength, wisdom and guidance.
They really KNEW Jesus.
They were TRUE apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, instead of the phony charlatans who pose as such today.
They performed REAL MIRACLES in His Name, not staged, phony "miracles" on Kristian TV.
They POSSESSED Jesus, hence the REAL power of God.
The end of the year seems a good time to reflect on certain Truths:
Modern Christian preachers have been reduced to shameless hucksters, who'll sell out their Savior, without ANY hesitation, at the drop of a hat, for a quick buck. Selah.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2012
THE MOST FAMOUS BIRTHDAY
Jesus' birthday is the most famous and widely celebrated birthday in the world, as well it should be.
Is there a more beautiful, heartwarming story than the birth of our Savior?
The Bible offers two different accounts, one from the Wise Men's perspective, found in the gospel of Matthew; another, from Mary's perspective found in the gospel of Luke.
Luke 2:13, 14 tells of an angel appearing in the sky, surrounded by a multitude of the armies of heaven praising God and saying "GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST AND ON EARTH. Peace and good will toward men".
They were praising God for the fact He was no longer ONLY "up there" in the highest, alienated from His Creation, HE WAS NOW ALSO ON EARTH in human form.
Imagine Almighty God MANIFESTING AS one of us!!!
He would now walk and live among us. He had become our Emmanuel: God was then, and now, WITH US.
That God Almighty would voluntarily PUT OFF His glory, and manifest in human form in this sinful, fallen, miserable, undeserving world, and identify with sinful mankind, is awesome enough.
But the most precious part of the story is that because of sin's repercussions we could not go up to Him, so HE CAME DOWN TO US.
Christmas is the expression of God's AWESOME, MAJESTIC, ETERNAL, NEVER-FAILING LOVE toward us.
It's a testament to His Goodness, Grace and Faithfulness.
He DIDN'T come for righteous people. There WERE NONE.
He came TO and FOR sinners.
He came to "seek and TO SAVE" those who are lost [Luke 19:10].
If you're a sinner, CHRISTMAS IS FOR YOU.
It all began that first Christmas. It ended 33 years later at Calvary.
Thank God it IS finished.
Calvary was followed, of course, by His Resurrection and Ascension.
Christ-mas is ALL about Jesus our Savior.
It's about God's resolute willingness to sink to our low level, so He could restore us to His Highest.
He was DETERMINED to pay ANY price to win back our love.
As we exchange gifts with family and friends, let's remember that there's ONLY ONE GIFT that pleases the Savior, and that gift is OUR HEART.
WHAT WILL YOU GIVE JESUS ON HIS BIRTHDAY?
Your HEART is ALL He's EVER wanted.
Will you say to Him "come into my heart, Lord Jesus? I give you MY WHOLE HEART".
MONDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2012
ONE SOLITARY LIFE
This poem was written by the late Dr. James Allan Francis (1864-1928). I've done some very minor editing, and would like to share "my version" with you.
He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in still another village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty.
Then for three years he was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book.
He never held an office.
He never had a family or owned a house.
He didn't go to college.
He never visited a big city.
He never traveled more than two hundred miles from the place where he was born.
He never had a TV show.
He never made any movies.
He didn't own great buildings.
He never had a private airplane.
He NEVER ASKED FOR MONEY.
He never amassed great wealth.
He did none of the things one usually associates with greatness.
He had no credentials but Himself.
He was only thirty three when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away.
He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
While He was dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth.
When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed tomb.
Twenty one centuries have come and gone, and today He is THE CENTRAL FIGURE OF the human race, and the Leader of mankind's progress.
All the armies that ever marched,
All the navies that ever sailed,
All the parliaments that ever sat,
All the kings that ever reigned put together... have not affected the life of man on this earth, let alone FOR ALL ETERNITY, as much as that One Solitary Life.
Praise You, Lord Jesus! Thank You, and Happy Birthday!
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2012
What would Christmas be WITHOUT Christ? NOTHING.
This Holy Day is ALL about the birth of the Savior and Messiah.
Yet the world thinks it can celebrate Christmas WITHOUT the VERY REASON for its celebration.
They already managed to "X" out the name of Christ, by writing "Xmas".
Even then, God gets the last laugh, since the "X" is in the shape of A CROSS.
Political correctness has done its best to substitute the traditional greeting "Merry Christmas" with "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays"... whatever THAT means.
Personally, I don't shop at places that find it "offensive" to say "Merry Christmas".
I'm offended WHEN THEY DON'T say it.
If the ACLU had its way there would be NO MENTION of Jesus' birth anywhere, and NO PUBLIC DISPLAYS of anything associated with Christmas or the birth of God Incarnate.
If Hollywood had its way, Jesus would be replaced by fictional characters such as Santa Claus, Frosty, Rudolph, Scrooge and the Grinch.
And if some politicians in Washington had their way... (you're smart enough, fill in the blank).
I got news for those who find the mention of the Name "Jesus" or "Christ" offensive.
I got news for the spineless slaves to political correctness that won't even say "Christmas"(what are they so afraid of, anyway? I'm not afraid to say "Ramadan" or "Yom Kippur").
I got news for ALL those who HATE CHRIST and, consequently, HATE Christmas:
YOU'RE GOING TO GET YOUR WISH.
One of these days you're going to get your heart's desire: A Christmas WITHOUT Christ.
It will also be a CHILDLESS Christmas, since you rejected even the Christ Child.
Jesus will have raptured His children, young and old, leaving all Christ haters behind.
The day will come, sooner than they think, when they'll MISS the Christmas trees, the decorations, the carols. They'll WISH they COULD say "Merry Christmas", but won't be able to.
Who knows? It may even happen THIS year.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2012
MEDITATIONS ON MARY
While many think of the mother of our Lord, as this inscrutable religious icon, the Bible gives quite a bit of information about this ordinary woman, who became extraordinary.
Here's a young girl, living in obscurity, in a tiny, inconspicuous town called Nazareth. One day, an unexpected encounter with a messenger from God, completely changes her life.
We can only imagine how Gabriel's announcement threw her otherwise uneventful life into turmoil.
How would she explain her pregnancy? WHO WOULD BELIEVE she had conceived FROM GOD? What would her betrothed think? What would her nosy neighbors whisper behind her back? What might they DO TO HER since, under Jewish law, the penalty FOR SEX OUTSIDE OF MARRIAGE was being STONED TO DEATH? (John 8:4,5; Leviticus 20:11; Deuteronomy 22:22).
(Thank God we're under Grace, or there wouldn't be any "survivors"...)
"Hey Mary, you're pregnant!" ...
"Oh, that... It was God Himself who impregnated me".
"Yeah, right ... And my dog's really A CAMEL".
They didn't have in vitro in those days...
We think of her carrying the Almighty's Incarnation in her womb for 9 months, visiting her cousin Elizabeth, bursting forth in praises to God, humbly admitting her own need for a Savior (Luke 1:47).
Then, in Bethlehem, on that beautiful, silent night giving birth to the Son of God and laying Him in a manger...
Witnessing the shepherds' and wise men's adoration of her son...
Watching her son's circumcision, as prescribed in the torah, going to the temple 40 days after the birth of Jesus, for her purification, as also required by law (Luke 2:22-24; Leviticus 12:1-8)...
Hearing both, the grand and ominous prophecies about her child in the temple, fleeing to Egypt to escape the madness of wicked Herod, returning to Nazareth after his death, MEANWHILE KEEPING ALL THESE THINGS - which would eventually be recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke - "in her heart"...
We admire HER PATIENCE... Waiting 10 months and 10 days (9 months pregnancy + 40 days of purification) before enjoying sexual intimacy with her husband Joseph, and vice versa...
We appreciate what good and godly parents she and Joseph must have been that God would allow HIS SON to be "subject to" them.
We think of her frantically looking for Jesus on that 12th Pentecost after His Birth, only to find Him in the temple arguing - even at that young age - with the "doctors" of the law... and WOWING THEM with His irresistible Wisdom.
We fast-forward 18 years to Jesus' public ministry, and she sees her son transform water into wine, sending Him messages since it's so crowded where He's preaching, THEY CAN'T EVEN GET IN and, at times, even doubting His sanity (Mark 3:21-31).
Three-and-a-half years later, there she is again, standing in front of his cross, watching her firstborn in agony, beaten to a pulp, subjected to coarse insults and mockery, and dying the cruelest of deaths.
The last thing we know from the Bible about Mary is that she was present, on the day of Pentecost, among the 120 who, obediently, waited for the promise of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus had commanded them.
Mary was FILLED WITH the Holy Spirit, and SPOKE IN TONGUES, just like the rest of them (Acts 1:13, 14; 2:1-4).
By then, all doubts about her Son had vanished. She knew He is God, she knew He had resurrected. She knew that He IS from everlasting to everlasting.
She must have marveled at how precisely the words of Gabriel, that she would be "blessed among women", had come to pass. Not to mention HER OWN WORDS that "all generations" would call her blessed (Luke 1:48).
From the first century to the current 21st century, ALL GENERATIONS HAVE CALLED HER BLESSED.
Every child of God owes Mary AN ETERNAL DEBT OF GRATITUDE. She was God's chosen instrument to bring Salvation into the world.
We DO NOT worship Mary. Worship belongs ONLY to God. But we DO HONOR her.
If God can take the life of a little, ordinary, small town peasant girl and use her IN SUCH MIGHTY WAY... WHAT MIGHT HE DO WITH YOUR LIFE ?
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2012
THE VIRGIN BIRTH: DOES IT MATTER ?
“Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, A VIRGIN SHALL CONCEIVE, and bear A SON, and shall call His Name Immanuel” (meaning “GOD WITH US” (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23).
“And the angel said to her, Fear not, Mary: for YOU HAVE FOUND FAVOR with God.
And, behold, YOU SHALL CONCEIVE IN YOUR WOMB, and bring forth A SON, and shall call His Name JESUS.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David:
And He shall reign over the house of Jacob (Israel) FOREVER; AND OF HIS KINGDOM THERE SHALL BE NO END.
Then Mary said to the angel, HOW SHALL THIS BE, SEEING I KNOW NOT A MAN?
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also THAT HOLY THING WHICH SHALL BE BORN OF YOU shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:30-35).
Without a doubt, the most controversial aspect of the Nativity is the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ.
This doctrine is FUNDAMENTAL TO the Christian faith.
Does it really matter that Jesus was born of a virgin?
Yes, it matters IMMENSELY.
Must I REALLY believe He was virgin born?
YES, YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST.
WHY is the Virgin Birth of Christ SO IMPORTANT?
The reason it’s SUPREMELY IMPORTANT is this:
The sin nature was transmitted from Adam to EVERY HUMAN WHO’S EVER BEEN NATURALLY BORN, through the blood (Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:22).
The LIFE OF the flesh IS IN THE BLOOD (Leviticus 17:11).
Babies get their blood from their fathers. That’s why, until DNA came along, blood tests were used to determine the paternity of a baby.
Had Jesus been born OF A HUMAN FATHER, had He been CONCEIVED though NATURAL means, He (perish the thought) would have INHERITED THE SIN NATURE, through the human father’s blood, just like the rest of us.
His blood would have been TAINTED with sin, and He would have been AUTOMATICALLY DISQUALIFIED from being THE SIN OFFERING that would REMOVE MAN’S SIN ONCE AND FOR ALL (Hebrews 7:26).
Thus, He COULDN’T HAVE redeemed us.
That’s WHY He HAD TO BE virgin born.
It is THE BLOOD that MAKES ATONEMENT FOR the soul (Leviticus 17:11).
According to God’s law: “WITHOUT the shedding of blood, THERE IS NO FORGIVENESS for sins” (Hebrews 9:22).
It took the PURE, SINLESS, MOST PRECIOUS, DIVINE Blood of God Himself to MAKE ATONEMENT FOR man’s sin, and redeem mankind and the rest of fallen Creation.
It took that HOLY, PERFECT, UNTAINTED Blood to WASH AWAY OUR SIN and remove it from us FOREVER (Hebrews 9:12, 26). Glory to Him forevermore!
THAT is WHY the Virgin Birth of Christ was, and IS, ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.
There would be NO REDEMPTION without it.
That’s WHY the Virgin Birth was prophesied FROM THE MOMENT mankind (Eve and Adam) fell into sin (Genesis 3:15).
Jesus, therefore, got His PHYSICAL body from Mary (John 1:14; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:14-17), but His Blood came directly from, and was the Blood of, God the Father (John 1:13).
He was and IS, therefore, as human as any of us, yet WITHOUT SIN (2 Corinthians 5:21).
He was and IS, therefore, 100% human and 100% God.
ONLY the Blood of God could ATONE AND CLEANSE your sins and mine.
As for critics who classify the Virgin Birth as “impossibility”, I have a question:
Even THE SMARTEST “man of science” on this earth possesses ONLY AN INFINITESIMAL FRACTION OF 1% of TOTAL knowledge.
Yet with their SEVERELY LIMITED knowledge, they have been able to come up with VARIOUS methods of artificial insemination.
These various methods make it possible for women to conceive (get pregnant) and give birth WITHOUT HAVING ANY sexual relations with a man.
They, thus, make it possible for babies to be VIRGIN-BORN.
So, let me get this straight:
Are you saying that SINFUL, FALLEN MORTALS, with VERY limited knowledge, can fertilize the female egg WITHOUT the woman engaging in sexual intercourse,BUT THAT ALMIGHTY GOD who possesses TOTAL KNOWLEDGE, who fashioned the entire human anatomy, INCLUDING THE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM, CAN’T DO IT?
I rest my case.
With God, as Gabriel put it, NOTHING is impossible (Luke 1:37).
Jesus WAS virgin born.
If He WASN’T, EVERYONE is doomed.
If He WASN’T,YOU’RE NOT SAVED.
It’s as simple – and DIVINE – AS THAT.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2012
There's much talk and debate about Mary and her role in Jesus' life and ministry, but we hear so little about Jesus’ stepdad, Joseph.
We associate him mostly with Nativity scenes where he is usually portrayed gazing at the Christ child in the manger, and holding a lantern.
Matter of fact, I got a nice figure of him standing in my living room right now.
There are certain "details" given about Joseph in extrabiblical literature, NONE OF THEM REMOTELY believable.
For those who are looking for someone "infallible" to believe in, the only place IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE where you'll find INFALLIBILITY is in the LIVING Word of God.
The Incarnate Word (Jesus) is ALIVE and INFALLIBLE and so is the written Word.
Here's what we know about Joseph from the INFALLIBLE, written Word of God:
He was from the lineage of King David (Matthew 1:6-16, 20; Luke 2:4).
He had initial misgivings about Mary's pregnancy, and had determined to divorce her in secret (Matthew 1:19).
It took God's intervention in a dream to persuade him to "take Mary into his house" as wife, and that Jesus had been conceived of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20).
He lived in Nazareth. Because of a census, he took the pregnant Mary to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born (Luke 2:1-7).
At God's prompting, he fled with Mary and Jesus into Egypt until the death of Herod (Matthew 2:13-15).
After Herod's death he took Mary and Jesus back to Nazareth where they settled down (Matthew 2:19-23) and where Jesus grew up.
He was clearly a godly, righteous man (Matthew 1:19).
He was spiritual enough that God could communicate with him in dreams, whenever necessary (Matthew 1:20; 2:13; 2:19-20, 22).
He was VERY OBEDIENT and, thankfully, followed God's instructions immediately and without question (Matthew 1:24; 2:14; 2:21).
He was a carpenter (Matthew 13:55).
He raised Jesus as his own son (Luke 2:33, 48; 4:22).
We know that, as Jesus "grew in wisdom and stature" and "in favor with God and men", He WAS OBEDIENT TO both Joseph and Mary (Luke 2:51).
Joseph didn't have sex with Mary UNTIL AFTER Jesus was born (Matthew 1:25).
God's Word is clear that, AFTER the birth of Jesus he and Mary DID HAVE sexual relations.
While I don't part fellowship with anyone over THIS SILLY ISSUE, to say or teach otherwise is disingenuous at best, and CONTRADICTING GOD (and thus, LYING) at worst.
After Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary had four sons and at least two daughters.
Their sons' names, given in the Gospels, were James, Joseph, Simon and Judas (Matthew 13:55-56; Mark 6:3; Galatians 1:19).
In Acts 1:14 we find those brothers with Mary and other disciples in the Upper Room in communion with each other and in prayer.
We don't know what happened to those sons or daughters afterwards, except for James who eventually became Bishop of Jerusalem, and wrote the New Testament's Epistle of James and for Judas who wrote the very brief New Testament's Book of Jude (Jude 1:1).
We know that at least two of them, James and Jude, were preachers of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 9:5).
As for the theory that Joseph's "other children" were from a previous marriage, I DON'T BUY IT FOR ONE MILLISECOND.
If they were, they would have been OLDER THAN Mary or, at the VERY least, her own age.
Had they been the same age as Mary or older, they wouldn't have been hanging around with her all the time, looking for Jesus, as we see them repeatedly in the Gospels and Book of Acts (Matthew 12:46; Mark 3:31; John 2:12; 7:3-5; Acts 1:14).
They would have been MUCH OLDER than Jesus and TOTALLY INDEPENDENT.
Why on earth would they constantly hang out with a woman who, purportedly, wasn't even their own mother?
We know Joseph was still alive when Jesus was twelve years old and they made pilgrimage to Jerusalem on Passover, as required in the torah (Luke 2:41-49).
We know that, by the time Jesus began His public ministry at 30 years of age, Joseph was no longer alive.
How do we know? Not only because he is no longer mentioned in the Gospels.
Not only because the other children, even the males, are going around with, and DEPENDENT ON, Jesus and Mary.
...But also because, as Jesus died on the cross, He ENTRUSTED THE CARE OF Mary to the apostle John (John 19:26-27).
Had Joseph been alive, there would have been NO NEED WHATSOEVER to do so.
This, by the way, shows that Jesus TRUSTED JOHN FAR MORE than He trusted even His own, natural brothers.
A bit later, in the Book of Acts, after Jesus' Resurrection and Ascension, we find Mary and Jesus' brothers among the 120 who were filled with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost but, again, ZERO MENTION of Joseph.
So, clearly, he died somewhere between Jesus' 13th and 29th birthday.
Exactly when he died, or how, we are not told.
There probably is some truth to the traditional view that he was much older than Mary. Perhaps 15, 20 or even 30 years older.
However, I don't believe for a moment the ABSURD and FALSE theory that when they married he was 90 years of age.
No way, José!
(For the linguistically challenged, José in Spanish means "Joseph").
Joseph's contribution to the birth, wellbeing, and upbringing of the Savior goes mostly unnoticed and unappreciated.
My main purpose in writing this message is TO CHANGE THAT.
EVERY BELIEVER in Jesus Christ owes Joseph a BIG debt of gratitude for his godliness, his humble and unquestioning obedience to God, and his loving protection of Jesus as a baby and as a young boy.
I don't know too many men who today - or 2,000 years ago - would have taken Jesus under their wing, loved Him, nurtured Him, trained Him, protected Him, given Him their name, and raised Him as their own son, KNOWING FULL WELL that He WASN'T his natural child.
Joseph did ALL OF THE ABOVE.
For all those reasons, I have no problem whatsoever in calling him, with great respect, "SAINT" Joseph.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2012
THE CHRISTMAS STAR
One of the most wonderful and controversial aspects of the Christmas story is the Star which led the Wise Men to Bethlehem.
Let me remind critics, who claim this type of travel is "unheard of", that celestial navigation has been used for THOUSANDS OF YEARS by sailors, fishermen and others.
In Matthew's Gospel, we read that the Wise Men from the East were led to the Christ child by a star.
The Greek word for "wise men" used in Matthew is magoi. The Magoi were a group of high-ranking politicians and sages from the Parthian Dynasty in Persia (modern day Iran: Yes, THAT Iran).
The Jewish prophet Daniel had been Prime Minister of the Persian Empire (Daniel 6:3,28; 8:27).
The State Religion in Persia, at the time of the Messiah's birth, was Zoroastrianism.
Zoroaster had been a disciple of Daniel, and had even included some of Daniel's prophecies and teachings in his "sacred" book Zen Avesta.
Thus, the Magoi were undoubtedly familiar with Daniel's prophecy, recorded in Daniel 9:24-26, that the Messiah King would be born and appear in Israel, as a grown man, 483 years after a certain decree, authorizing the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
They also knew, FROM THEIR OWN HISTORY, that such decree had been issued by their own Persian king Artaxerxes Longanimus in the 20th year of his reign, which would be 445 B.C.
Knowing Messiah would offer Himself in sacrifice for the sins of mankind AS AN ADULT, they could pretty well calculate the approximate window of time in which His birth would take place as being sometime between 6 B.C. and 1 B.C.
They also knew that, even prior to Daniel, another prophet from neighboring Mesopotamia, named Balaam, had prophesied the coming of a special Star that would herald the birth of the Jewish King (Numbers 24:17).
Since around 6 B.C. they would have been on the lookout FOR A SPECIAL STAR TO APPEAR, announcing the birth of the King of Kings.
That SPECIAL STAR was none other than the Magen David (Star of David) -- SEE ILLUSTRATION BELOW -- which consists of two inverted triangles, one pointing downward, symbolizing God Incarnate coming down to earth as Immanuel, "God with us", the other triangle pointing upward, symbolizing that Messiah would bring man back up to God (Revelation 22:16).
It was a well established fact that the Messiah, King of the Jews, would be born from the Davidic Dynasty (1 Kings 2:45; 9:5; Isaiah 9:6,7; Luke 1:32). Daniel, no doubt, would have passed this information down to his disciples in both the Babylonian and Persian court, including Zoroaster.
Clearly, the Magoi knew EXACTLY what the King of Israel's STAR was supposed to look like. Hence, Matthew's Gospel clearly states they saw HIS STAR "in the East" (Matthew 2:2).
Astronomy records show that, on August 27, 1 B.C. there was a very unusual convergence of planets in Virgo.
Jupiter (the King planet) and Mars came so close, they almost "collided". Mercury and Venus also came quite close to them, while the sun was also in Virgo.
Seen from earth, with the naked eye, this would provide the special, 6-point "Star of David" effect the Magoi had been looking for.
But what made the sign even more relevant is that at dawn, Jupiter left the other planets, and began to move westwards, toward Israel.
They would have "seen His Star" (shaped like a hexagram or two inverted triangles) and set out for Israel, following the King planet Jupiter's lead toward Judea. Jupiter actually WENT BEFORE THEM toward Bethlehem, just as the biblical account says (Matthew 2:9).
Some 7-8 weeks later, Jupiter would have stood 65 degrees above the southern horizon, in the Meridian just south of Jerusalem, and RIGHT OVER Bethlehem.
At that point, Jupiter would have reached its farthest point westward, so it actually "STOOD OVER" where the child was, JUST AS MATTHEW 2:9-10 SAYS, on December 25th 1 B.C, during the Jewish Festival of Hanukkah.
By then Mary and Joseph had moved from the sukka (hut) where Jesus was born, to a house (Matthew 2:11).
Jesus had been born on the feast of Tabernacles, the Magoi had seen His Star, followed it toward Bethlehem, and found Him in a house with Mary and Joseph on Hanukkah.
They worshiped Him, and offered Him gifts befitting a King.
They found the Light of the World, during the Jewish Festival of Lights, on December 25, 1 B.C.
That is ONE OF the reasons His birth is celebrated on December 25.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2012
STABLE WITHOUT ANIMALS
Just in time for Christmas, the Vatican announced a new book by Pope Benedict XVI focused on Jesus' birth and childhood.
"Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives," has hit bookstores in 50 countries with an initial print of ONE MILLION copies, and translations into nine languages.
I assume, based on the purposely timed release of this publication, and the fact it’s FOR SALE, that this year we won’t be hearing His Holiness complain about how “commercial” Christmas has become.
But let’s be fair: if so-called Evangelicals, and even an UNBELIEVING HEATHEN like Deepak Chopra, can capitalize on Christmas and MARKET their fluff during this time, why shouldn’t Catholics also get a piece (no pun intended) of the Christmas pie?
The Pope claims to have based his work on that of other scholars, most of them fellow Germans, and, I must say, tries to somewhat alter Christian tradition.
On Mary's virgin conception of Jesus, Benedict says the answer to the question of whether this is "historical truth," should be AN "UNEQUIVOCAL YES."
"Jesus' Virgin Birth and His Resurrection from the dead", he writes, are the two moments in the Gospels when "God INTERVENES DIRECTLY into the material world."
He refers to both of these as "FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENTS" of the Christian faith.
He refers to the Nativity narratives in Matthew and Luke as not mere “stories” but “REAL HISTORY”.
I couldn’t agree more…
Benedict then somewhat contradicts himself by stating that the Three Wise Men could have been inspired by “a theological idea" RATHER THAN BY A "HISTORICAL EVENT," although he personally prefers a literal interpretation of the biblical account.
Actually, the Wise Men ARE VERY HISTORIC, since they were a group of sages from Persia (modern Iran) who had been told of the SPECIAL STAR that would signal the Birth of the Jewish King by the prophet Daniel (Numbers 24:17).
What is NEITHER BIBLICAL NOR HISTORIC is that there were ONLY THREE.
Tradition says there were THREE, based on the fact they gave Jesus THREE gifts (gold, frankincense and myrrh) and even assigns them the names Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar.
However, there might have been 6, 7, 10, 12, or more… The Scriptures simply DO NOT tell us how many there were.
The star of Bethlehem, Benedict notes, has been convincingly identified with a major planetary conjunction that took place in the years 7-6 B.C.
Benedict also says that, “according to the Gospels”, there were NO ANIMALS in the Bethlehem “stable” around the newborn Jesus. But, he adds, no Nativity Scene would be complete without them.
I was somewhat surprised that the Pope would take issue with someone as popular as fellow Catholic monk, Francis of Assisi who created the first Nativity Scene in 1223 A.D. using people and LIVE animals.
Had Benedict taken a closer look at the Gospels, instead of relying on religious “scholars”, he might have been surprised to learn that, ACTUALLY, THERE WERE ANIMALS.
While it’s true that the Gospels DO NOT SPECIFICALLY say there were camels, a cow, a donkey and some sheep, which is what typical Nativity Scenes show, THERE HAD TO HAVE BEEN ANIMALS, for several reasons:
1) Remembering that Jesus WAS JEWISH – NOT Catholic – and that He was born during the Feast of Tabernacles (John 1:14), the so-called “stable” wasn’t a REAL stable but a sukka or hut built especially for that Hebrew Feast, as instructed in Scripture.
These huts, as their very name indicates, were temporary, OPEN, makeshift structures and would have been very accessible to animals (Leviticus 23:39-43).
2. There HAD to have been animals because THE VERY PLACE, where according to Luke 2:7, Luke 2:12, and Luke 2:16, baby Jesus was laid, is called in Greek a phatne which unequivocally refers to A FEEDING TROTH FOR ANIMALS.
WHY ON EARTH would there be a FEEDING TROTH for animals inside the hut UNLESS there were ANIMALS IN IT, or close by, that needed to be fed?
3. According to Luke 2:8-9, there were SHEPHERDS in the area where Jesus was born, tending THEIR FLOCKS.
The shepherds were the first to hear the Good News from the angel who told them where to find baby Jesus (Luke 2:10-16).
Jesus Himself told us that SHEEP FOLLOW their shepherd (John 10:4).
It would have been COMPLETELY UNNATURAL if NO SHEEP from the FLOCKS had followed their shepherds to the manger.
You KNOW there had to be AT LEAST two or three sheep from Bethlehem – the town where sheep (lambs) were raised to serve as SIN OFFERINGS in the temple – that followed their shepherds TO WITNESS THE BIRTH OF THE LAMB OF GOD.
Their blood would only cover our sins temporarily. His Blood WOULD REMOVE SIN FROM US ETERNALLY.
Glory to the King of kings!
So, AT A MINIMUM, there had to have been SHEEP PRESENT; probably other animals as well.
Perhaps you’re wondering WHY I’m taking the Pope to task on this seemingly unimportant detail of the Nativity.
NO ONE’S Salvation depends on believing there were animals there, or not.
However, my problems with that theory are:
a) It contradicts the Scriptures, as I just demonstrated.
b) Contradicting the Scriptures is contradicting God. And,
c) It robs the Nativity of some of its meaning and beauty.
God came into the world as Jesus to redeem NOT JUST MANKIND, but THE ENTIRE CREATION, which has suffered greatly under the weight of man’s sin.
It’s important, therefore, that ALL OF CREATION be represented at His Birth:
There were HUMANS there.
The PLANT KINGDOM was present in the form of tree branches, USED TO BUILD THE SUKKA, to witness the event.
And so was THE ANIMAL KINGDOM!!!
So much for “papal infallibility”…
Even Saint Peter would back me up on this one.
I appreciate the Pope standing for fundamentals of the Christian faith like the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection.
But where animals and the Nativity are concerned, I have ONE WORD for His Holiness:
MONDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2012
"Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men, WAS EXCEEDINGLY ANGRY... and KILLED ALL THE CHILDREN that were in Bethlehem, and in all the region thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.
Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying,
In Ramah was there a voice heard, LAMENTATION, AND WEEPING, AND GREAT MOURNING, Rachel WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN, and would not be comforted, because THEY ARE NO MORE" (Matthew 2:16-18).
The Massacre of the Innocents is a part of the Christmas narrative that is seldom mentioned.
It's quite understandable, and human, that we should focus only on the heartwarming, beautiful portions of the Nativity account.
In sharp contrast with the rest of the story, we have this evil character named Herod who OUT OF FEAR that some innocent toddler might eventually replace him and "take away" his worldly kingdom, in a fit of rage and horrendous display of demonic paranoia, ordered ALL THE CHILDREN OF BETHLEHEM, two years of age or younger - BOYS AND GIRLS - savagely murdered.
Likewise, three days ago, and two thousand years later, in a similar outburst of satanic hate and pure evil, we learned in horror of the SENSELESS SLAUGHTER of 20 innocent children and 6 adults.
We can't even begin to imagine the pain that those Bethlehem parents experienced 2,000 years ago.
The horror and helplessness those poor Jewish mothers must have felt to have their children so unjustly, arbitrarily, and savagely murdered.
Nor can we begin to imagine the suffering that parents of Newtown, Connecticut, who just lost their precious children, are experiencing in these very difficult moments.
Our hearts and prayers go out to them. We mourn their loss and can offer THIS word of comfort: REST ASSURED that your little ones are in heaven and in Jesus' loving arms, even as we speak.
Unfortunately, the spirit of Herod is alive and well, and ACTIVE, in the 21st century as it was in the first century.
Satan. hates children today as much as he did then, why?
They REMIND HIM of God's promise that a child born of a woman, the Seed of the woman he deceived in the Garden of Eden, WOULD CRUSH HIS UGLY HEAD (Genesis 3:15).
Jesus CRUSHED Satan's head two thousand years ago, and is about to do so again FOR THE FINAL TIME.
The great irony is that Herod died shortly after committing this barbaric atrocity, and LOST HIS WORLDLY KINGDOM ANYWAY.
Just like the demoniac who carried out those murders LOST HIS OWN LIFE in the end.
The "motive" behind this IRRATIONAL act of barbarism is still being investigated but, regardless of what authorities may uncover, some of us know WHO WAS REALLY BEHIND IT.
The guy who pulled the trigger was merely his pawn.
Satan. will always hate children. That's why Christian parents need to nurture and protect those little ones. Don't forget to hug them and kiss them before they leave for school each morning. Take every conceivable precaution (you CAN'T BE TOO CAREFUL nowadays) AND COVER THEM EVERY SINGLE DAY WITH THE BLOOD OF JESUS.
Every child born into this world is "a threat" to the evil one.
The creep hates all children, and God's spiritual children, as well.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2012
The question "what does Christmas mean to you?" has become an unfortunate religious cliché.
What it means to you, me, or anyone else is IRRELEVANT.
The REAL question is "WHAT DOES CHRISTMAS MEAN?"
WHAT does Christmas ACTUALLY mean?
Oh, that's easy: It means the Birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
Yes. It certainly means THAT.
But there's more to it than the birth of a cute baby boy.
Christmas means more than angels, and shepherds, and wise men.
It means more than Mary and Joseph and the now infamous inn.
It means more than Christmas carols, eggnog and mistletoe.
It's more than Nativity scenes, Christmas trees, getting together with family and loved ones, and exchanging gifts.
What Christmas REALLY means is that God gave EVERYTHING for you.
He couldn't find anything or anyone GREATER THAN Himself, and so He gave Himself TOTALLY to you.
Christmas means that God gave ALL for you.
ALL OF GOD was in that cute baby born on that beautiful, starry night.
ALL OF GOD was still in that young man who grew up in Nazareth and worked in a carpenter shop.
ALL OF GOD was in Jesus, the 33-year old man WHO DIED ON THAT AWFUL CROSS, and spilled His sacred, PURE, SINLESS Blood for your sins and mine.
ALL OF GOD was in Jesus when He spent THREE DAYS AND NIGHTS IN HELL ITSELF - THE VERY HELL that you and I should have suffered for our rebellion.
ALL OF GOD was in Jesus WHEN HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD TRIUMPHANT OVER Satan., SIN AND DEATH.
ALL OF GOD was still in Jesus 40 days later when He ASCENDED TO HEAVEN and sat at the Right Hand of the Father.
AND ALL OF GOD IS STILL IN JESUS TODAY, WHEN YOU INVITE HIM INTO YOUR HEART AND RECEIVE HIM AS YOUR SAVIOR, LORD AND GOD.
How ANYONE on this rotten planet CAN REFUSE THE GIFT OF GOD HIMSELF - the ONLY ONE who can make the earth RIGHT AGAIN - is beyond my comprehension.
God gave ALL FOR YOU in Jesus.
Have you given ALL to Him?
Have you given Him YOUR HEART?
THAT is what Christmas IS - and SHOULD BE - ALL about.
THAT is what Christmas REALLY means.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2012
TOO BUSY FOR GOD
What do we celebrate at Christmas? The Birth of Christ.
Yet as Christmas approaches, many people, including Christians, seem to have little or no time for Christ.
Many are too busy shopping, decorating, planning meals, who's coming over, sending Christmas greetings to family or friends, baking cookies, watching parades on TV, football games, or whatever... to even spend any time with the One whose Birth we celebrate and in whose Name we exchange gifts.
They don't even find time to open His Word.
This holiday is ALSO a HOLY day, since "holy" means "set apart".
It's a day we "set apart" to honor the Savior.
Yet, ironically, the One whose Birth we're supposedly celebrating, is the One we find LEAST time for, if ANY.
If it wasn't for Him, there would be NO Christmas.
Listen, I love all of the above. I'm not saying you shouldn't enjoy these things, or the carols, the tree, and even the cookies... yum.
But how about PUTTING HIM FIRST for a change?
How about making time for Jesus BEFORE you brave the malls, traffic, and lines?
If you could get up at 4 A.M. on Black Friday to get those bargains, can't you begin your day 10 minutes earlier in deep communion with Jesus and thanking Him for His non-stop goodness?
Christmas is a time to HONOR our Savior.
Please don't shove Him aside for external things, which no one will remember a month from now.
While you're busy buying and wrapping all those gifts, don't forget THE GREATEST GIFT.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2012
WITHHOLDING JESUS from others is A CRIME.
You heard me.
In fact, it is THE WORST crime any of us can commit.
"Oh, c'mon, give me a break! I know I'm supposed to share Jesus, but HOW CAN YOU SAY it's A CRIME, let alone THE WORST possible crime, with all the atrocities that go on in this corrupt world we live in"?
O.K., Mr. or Ms. Lukewarm, let's think this through:
However heinous a crime in this world may be - and I will grant that the corrupt human mind is capable of some horrific stuff - IT'S ONLY TEMPORARY.
It's EFFECTS - now matter how awful - are also TEMPORARY.
That means that the suffering CAUSED BY such crimes will, at some point, come to an END.
On the other hand, WITHHOLDING the knowledge of Jesus from others IS A CRIME that has ETERNAL consequences.
The consequences - AND THE TORMENT caused by such crime - NEVER END.
Aha! You were saying...?
Each believer is RESPONSIBLE FOR the Jesus they have.
Again: EACH believer is RESPONSIBLE FOR the Jesus they have.
God doesn't expect us to give something we DON'T have.
But He DOES expect us TO SHARE the Jesus we have - and TO WHICHEVER DEGREE we may have Him.
Jesus DID NOT come to us and enter our innermost being (heart) so we would hoard Him and keep Him all to ourselves.
He did not give us the born again experience, or the infilling of the Holy Spirit, so we would keep Him "A SECRET".
The Divine Charge He gave to each of us is CRYSTAL CLEAR:
YOU GO INTO ALL THE WORLD and PREACH THE GOOD NEWS:
EVERY BELIEVER owes it TO our Savior - to others - and to himself or herself, in THAT order, TO CONVEY in a CLEAR, PRECISE, UNAMBIGUOUS WAY HOW we can experience Salvation (Jesus).
He liberated us from sin and will remove us from this sin laden realm and TRANSFER US to the perfect realm WHERE HIS PERFECTION is fully MANIFESTED in us.
Frankly, THAT'S what CHRIST-mas is ALL about.
God SO LOVED this fallen world that He gave THE GREATEST GIFT POSSIBLE of His Son:
Divinely conceived, yet born like any other human baby.
The Son who came to die and shed His Divine Blood - the LIVING Blood of God Himself - for your sins and mine.
Jesus IS the Gift God gave to die on the cross, RISE FROM THE DEAD, and ASCEND TO HEAVEN, so you could ASCEND WITH HIM, TOO.
Are you WITHHOLDING JESUS?
Are you DENYING others the Eternal Life THAT HE IS, and that they SO DESPERATELY NEED?
Don't hog Jesus! Don't keep Him ALL to yourself!
As we approach the Christmas season where gifts are customarily exchanged, DON'T WITHHOLD Jesus FROM others:
He's THE MOST WONDERFUL GIFT you can give another person, BAR NONE.
You don't have to worry about whether they might not "like" this Gift.
You don't have to think about whether He might not "fit" the recipient. He comes IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES and "fits" EVERYONE.
He matches EVERY eye color, hair color, skin color, height or weight.
You don't have to worry about them RETURNING the Gift.
He's the Gift they can KEEP and yet ALSO PASS ON TO OTHERS.
He is the gift they will cherish and enjoy FOREVER.
A slow economy may prevent some from giving material gifts. BUT NOTHING can prevent you from sharing THE MOST WONDERFUL GIFT OF ALL.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2012
BIBLICAL GENERATION - PART 2
Jewish children begin studying the torah at age 5.
I remember when our non-Messianic Jewish tour guide in Israel was asked "how long is a biblical generation?" he DIDN'T EVEN BAT AN EYE and instantly replied "a generation in the Bible is 40 years".
The Hebrew word for "generation" is dor and the Greek is genea.
O.K., here's what I've done: I've taken EVERY biblical passage that CLEARLY assigns A SPECIFIC NUMBER OF YEARS TO a "generation" or "generations", and listed it below :
1: Job 42:16:
"After this, Job lived 140 years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth GENERATION".
We know that Job was an adult and thus capable of immediate reproduction.
We don't know how old that fourth generation he got to see was, but they were probably children or at most, teenagers. If we divide 140 by 4 we get 35.
If we divide by three, we get 46.5 years.
If we split the difference down the middle, that's VERY CLOSE to 40 years (40.75, to be exact).
2. Matthew 1:17:
"So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen... And from David to the carrying away to Babylon fourteen... and from the carrying away to Babylon to Christ are FOURTEEN GENERATIONS".
We don't know the exact number of years from Abraham to David, or even from David to the Babylonian captivity, but we do know the exact year of captivity to be 586 B.C., and the year of Messiah's birth to be 1 B.C.
Since Matthew tells us there were 14 GENERATIONS between the two, all we have to do is divide 584 into 14 (586 - 2 (there's no "year zero") = 584 / 14) = 41½ years: Still VERY CLOSE.
3.Luke 21:6, 20 and 32:
Jesus said, in April of 32-33 A.D., that THAT GENERATION would NOT PASS AWAY without Jerusalem and the temple being destroyed. It happened, right on cue, in July-August, 70 A.D., 38 years (and approximately 4 months) later: About a year and 8 months short of 40 YEARS.
4. Acts 13:36:
"For David, after he had served HIS OWN GENERATION... fell asleep..."
And how long did David serve HIS GENERATION? The answer is found in 2 Samuel 5:4 "David was 30 years old when he began to reign, and he reigned 40 YEARS".
5. Numbers 32:13:
"... and He made them wander in the wilderness FORTY (40) YEARS, until ALL THE GENERATION, that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was consumed".
6. Psalm 95:10:
"For 40 YEARS I was grieved with THIS GENERATION, and said, it is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways".
7. Hebrews 3:9-10:
"when your fathers tempted me and proved me and saw my works 40 YEARS. Wherefore, I was grieved with THAT GENERATION".
The Bible only requires TWO witnesses for every matter to be established (Deuteronomy 19:15).
I just gave you SEVEN.
One more thing: If we take Jesus' genealogy in Matthew chapter 1 (from Abraham to David, David to Babylonian captivity, and Babylon to Jesus) as being 42 GENERATIONS (14+14+14) and divide the approximate time from Abraham to Jesus which is estimated to be about 2,100 years by 42, it equals 50.
Therefore, if a generation is AT LEAST 40 years, but NO MORE THAN 50 years, and Jerusalem returned to the Jews 45 years ago, and Jesus, per His own words MUST RETURN before THIS GENERATION passes away, that means that Jesus' return must be VERY, VERY, VERY NEAR.
If His Second Coming, as per Daniel 9:25, happens 49 years FROM "the word" to return and build biblical Jerusalem given in 1967, indeed, as our Lord said in Luke 21:32 THIS generation will NOT have "passed away" until ALL these things (Rapture, tribulation, Second Coming) have taken place.
It means that both timelines are IN AGREEMENT. It means that WE ARE THE GENERATION that will witness His glorious return.
Amen. Please come, Lord Jesus!
As we have seen, the length of A BIBLICAL GENERATION is NO BIG MYSTERY: all we need to do is READ THE SCRIPTURES.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2012
I am SO TIRED of people writing me that a biblical generation is "70 years".
Like brainwashed automatons they repeat ad nauseam WHAT THEY HEARD from OTHER religious robots, who probably picked it up at "Bi-BULL" College, and who HAVEN'T STUDIED OR SEARCHED the Scriptures THEMSELVES, LIKE THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO DO BEFORE they spread some unscriptural myth (John 5:39; 2 Timothy 2:15).
They supposedly "base" their ASSUMPTION on ONE passage of Scripture TAKEN TOTALLY OUT OF CONTEXT.
Meanwhile, THEY COMPLETELY OVERLOOK the MANY biblical passages that DO tell us what a biblical generation is.
Once and for all: Psalm 90 SAYS NO SUCH THING!!!
All that Moses said in verse one of that Psalm is that GOD has been "our dwelling place" THROUGHOUT ALL OUR GENERATIONS (plural)!!!
That's ALL He said.
Verse two doubles up on this assertion by saying that "from everlasting to everlasting" (for ALL generations) He IS God.
Verse 4 says: "For A THOUSAND YEARS in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night".
Does that mean that a generation is A THOUSAND YEARS???
They have to SKIP ALL THE WAY OVER TO VERSE 10 to make their dumb "case":
"The days OF OUR YEARS (NOT "of our generations") are 70 years; and IF WE HAVE THE STRENGTH they are 80 years"...
First of all, if you're going to make a case for a generation based on THAT ONE verse, then you would have to say it's 70-80 years, not merely "70" years.
The word "generation", however, is CONSPICUOUSLY MISSING from that verse. It simply ISN'T THERE.
Moses was merely giving the GENERAL LIFESPAN among Israelites at the time he wrote that Psalm.
Moses himself lived to the ripe old age of 120 (Deuteronomy 34:7). His successor Joshua lived to 110 (Joshua 24:29).
We know that another contemporary, Caleb, was still going strong at 85 years of age, and probably lived to 100 or more (Joshua 14:10).
Moses wrote that Psalm around 1,407 B.C., shortly before his death.
WE KNOW that ALL Israelites that were 20 years OR OLDER (except for Joshua, Caleb and some Levites) had perished DURING THE PREVIOUS 40 YEARS, because they had believed "the evil report" from the spies (Numbers 14:29-35; Deuteronomy 2:14).
THAT'S what Moses was referring to when he says they lived to 70 or, AT MOST, 80 years, because most had died at 60 years of age OR SHORTLY AFTER.
For those who CAN'T ADD 20 + 40 = 60, 30 + 40 = 70 and 40 + 40 = 80.
All Moses was saying is THAT GOD HAD KEPT HIS WORD by NOT allowing them to enter the Promised Land, and by having ALL of them die within that 40 year-period where they'd wandered in the wilderness, EXACTLY as He'd promised.
Dear God!!! Doesn't ANYONE STUDY God's Word anymore?
Are Christians too stupid or too lazy to THINK AND SEARCH God's Word FOR THEMSELVES?
Do I have to do EVERYTHING?
Now that we've DEBUNKED THAT moronic myth, HOW LONG DOES SCRIPTURE INDICATE A BIBLICAL GENERATION IS?
We'll dissect it in the following message.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2012
JUBILEE TO JUBILEE
Jews have not observed Jubilees for a long, long time.
This is understandable since Jubilee was supposed to be observed every 50 years, ONLY when all 12 tribes were in the land of Israel (Leviticus 25:2).
Since the 12 tribes HAVEN’T BEEN in the land since 721 B.C., it’s only natural that Jubilees have been all but forgotten.
God, however, HASN’T forgotten.
He has been restoring the Jubilee gradually.
During Jubilee, ALL PROPERTY RETURNS TO ITS ORIGINAL OWNERS.
In 1917, two key events in Jewish history took place:
1) On November 2, the Balfour Declaration, a letter from United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur J. Balfour to Walter Rothschild, (2nd Baron Rothschild), a leader of the Jewish community in Britain, indicating that King George V’s government would view with favor “the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people” in the Holy Land.
2. 35 days later,the LIBERATION OF Jerusalem by Britain from the oppressive, Islamic Ottoman Empire on Hanukkah, which on that particular year, as on this one, fell on December 9th, in the Gregorian calendar.
General Edmund Allenby’s rout of the Ottoman Turks paved the way for both the formation of the modern State of Israel, and for the eventual recapture of Jerusalem by Jews IN THE NEXT JUBILEE YEAR, 1967, exactly 50 YEARS LATER (Leviticus 25:8-10).
How do we KNOW those were Jubilee years, when Jubilees haven’t been kept FOR ALMOST THREE THOUSAND YEARS?
How can we be sure with ALL THE “CALENDAR CHANGES” that have taken place in that INTERVAL?
Because Daniel 9:25 plainly states that there would be a decree to “return and build” biblical Jerusalem FOLLOWED BY a Jubilee period of “seven SEVENS” or 49 years (compare to Leviticus 25:8) at the end of which Messiah Prince would appear. His appearance will clearly mark THE BEGINNING OF Jubilee (50th year) where LIBERTY will be proclaimed throughout ALL the earth and its inhabitants (Leviticus 25:10). Glory to Messiah Prince for ALL eternity!
Said “decree” was UNEQUIVOCALLY given in 1967.
During the 1967 Jubilee, THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT PROPHETIC EVENT since Pentecost 33 A.D. took place:
Jews recovered BIBLICAL JERUSALEM after 2,030 years of UNINTERRUPTED gentile trampling, as required by Luke 21:24.
They were thus able to issue the decree to “return and build” biblical Jerusalem as required by Daniel 9:25.
And according to Psalm 102:16, and the two previously cited Scriptures, THE REBUILDING OF BIBLICAL Jerusalem would indicate that Messiah IS ABOUT TO APPEAR in His glory.
As for those who walk in their corrupt natural minds, SETTING LIMITS ON GOD, and claiming that time has “run out” for these events to happen WITHIN THE TIME FRAME GIVEN IN Scripture, all I can say is Jesus ONLY needs A FRACTION OF A SECOND or “twinkling of an eye” to take His people Home (1 Corinthians 15:50), and ANOTHER FRACTION OF A SECOND to defeat the Antichrist and toss him into “the lake”.
Since “time” is AN ILLUSION to begin with, He can even MANIPULATE “TIME” AT WILL.
He can make it go “forward”, “backward”, stand still, and, probably, many other things our natural minds can’t even imagine or comprehend.
Keep setting limits on God with your puny mind’s SEVERELY RESTRICTED understanding. You’re just proving what a foolish and rebellious mind you have.
The next Jubilee will be in 2017. By then, Messiah will have returned, His Kingdom established on earth and in Jerusalem.
ALL Israel – the 12 tribes – should be back in their land after roughly 2,740 years (almost three millennia) in exile, exactly as Jubilee requires.
It will be the Jubilee of Jubilees.
It will be the most Golden Era Israel has known in its long, tumultuous and harrowing history.
It will also begin a utopian Messianic Era for the rest of the world, when the King of Kings rules His earthly Kingdom.
Not only do these THREE BIBLICAL TIMELINES relate entirely to Jerusalem, they also concur in the general timing of Messiah’s appearing.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2012
We hear over and over again from the prophecy establishment that God's "prophetic time clock" began ticking with the creation of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948.
The rebirth of "Israel" was, indeed, a watershed moment in prophecy fulfillment and I would not want to ever diminish its importance.
However, THERE IS NO SCRIPTURE that focuses on the creation of a modern State named Israel, as THE MOMENT we should begin eschatological countdown:
There are, on the other hand, AT LEAST SEVEN Scriptures where end time events are related to Jerusalem (Psalms 102:16; Daniel 9:24-27, the entire Book of Joel, Zechariah chapters 12-14, Luke 21:24-32, and Revelation chapters 11-15 and 19-22).
EVERY major prophecy concerning "the time of the end", begins and ends with Jerusalem.
But what about "the fig tree" mentioned in Matthew 24:32 and Luke 21:29? Isn't Israel "the fig tree"?
No. Jerusalem is.
In Jeremiah 24:8 the figs represent Jerusalem. In Joel 1:7, Jerusalem is called by God "MY FIG TREE". In Joel 2:22-23 it's again Jerusalem, and again in S.S. 2:7-13.
Obviously, the creation of the modern State of Israel is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, since there HAD TO BE some official, national Jewish presence in the Holy Land IN ORDER TO FULFILL Luke 21:24 that calls for an END TO gentile trampling of biblical Jerusalem.
1948 was also A KEY PROPHETIC MOMENT in that, while Israel WON the War of Independence and gained territory, IT LOST the Jewish Quarter (biblical Jerusalem), causing THE EVICTION of its entire Jewish population and the DESTRUCTION OF the Quarter.
This HAD TO take place in order for the order to "RETURN and BUILD" Jerusalem to both take place and MAKE SENSE.
However, the MODERN State of Israel is NOT - repeat, is NOT - by ANY stretch of the imagination, BIBLICAL ISRAEL.
The Israel mentioned in the Old Testament either referred to ALL 12 TRIBES (Genesis 49:28; Joshua 3:12), named after the 12 sons of Jacob (Israel), or to the 10 NORTHERN TRIBES during the Divided Kingdom Era (1 Kings 21:7; 2 Kings 23:22).
The 10 tribes were conquered and taken into captivity by the Assyrians in 721 B.C.
Eventually they spread into various parts of Europe, Asia and Africa where - with the exception of some tiny groups in India and Ethiopia - they became assimilated into various nationalities and cultures.
Their present whereabouts are KNOWN ONLY BY GOD, and remain UNKNOWN to humans.
For that reason, they are referred to as the "10 LOST tribes" to this very day.
What we know today as the State of Israel is comprised mostly of people of the tribes of Judah (hence the name "Jews"), Benjamin, and some Levites.
It's significant that, except for the passages in Psalms and in the Book of Joel, ALL these prophecies regarding Jerusalem and the "time of the end" were given AFTER Israel (the northern 10 tribes) had ceased to exist, and had VANISHED into multiple nationalities.
There's NO PROMISE ANYWHERE of bringing them back to the Holy Land until the Millennium.
BIBLICAL ISRAEL, comprised of the 12 tribes, WILL NOT BE RESTORED UNTIL King Jesus brings them back into their own land, as He promised, and settle them after "their old estates" (Ezekiel 34:11-28; 36:11; 37:19-22).
However, God promised time and again to bring the people of Judah back from captivity (Jeremiah 25:4-12; 29:10; Daniel 9:25; Zechariah 1:12; Luke 21:24), and HAS DONE SO REPEATEDLY. Praise His wonderful faithfulness.
That, if nothing else, PROVES that eschatology is tied to Jerusalem and not to the formation of a political State named Israel containing only two tribes, and perhaps tiny fragments OF SOME of the other 10.
Therefore, while it's a very important development, there's NO WAY that the creation of a MODERN State named Israel, with a capital in "West" Jerusalem - WHICH NEVER EVEN EXISTED IN BIBLICAL TIMES - CAN BE THE MOMENT WHEN the eschatological COUNTDOWN BEGINS.
The end-time prophetic clock started ticking on June 7, 1967 (Iyyar 28, THE VERY DAY Jesus ascended to heaven after His Resurrection) when the Jews recaptured BIBLICAL ("East") Jerusalem after 2,030 years of continued Gentile occupation.
King David, the founder of Jewish Jerusalem, told us 3,000 years ago in PSALM 102:16:
"WHEN THE LORD SHALL BUILD UP ZION" (JERUSALEM) - NOT all Israel - THEN HE SHALL APPEAR IN HIS GLORY".
It was also in 1967 that the "word" was given by then Prime Minister Levi Eshkol to "return and build" the Jewish Quarter, as per Daniel 9:25.
That was 45 years ago.
Gabriel told Daniel there would be "7 sevens" from that "word" to the appearing of Messiah Prince.
600 years later, Jesus AGAIN gave His Word ASSURING US that the generation that saw Jerusalem return to the Jews, after the times of "Gentile trampling" were fulfilled, WOULD NOT PASS UNTIL we saw Him coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
David, Gabriel, and Jesus Himself, ALL PROMISED THE SAME THING:
All THREE timelines in the Bible begin with the RETURN OF JEWS TO Jerusalem and of Jerusalem to the Jews.
ALL ELSE, regardless of our good intentions, is human INVENTION...
Using THE WRONG "PROPHETIC CLOCK" only brings confusion.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2012
WHAT ARE THE ODDS ?
40 years ago, the late Peter Stoner, Chairman of the Departments of Mathematics and Astronomy at Pasadena City College, and Professor Emeritus of Science at Westmont College, calculated the probability that ONE INDIVIDUAL could fulfill JUST 8 of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Jewish Messiah as one in 100,000,000,000,000,000.
That's one in ONE HUNDRED QUADRILLIONS.
That figure is INCOMPREHENSIBLE to the human mind.
We are simply INCAPABLE of grasping the SHEER ENORMITY OF IT.
But what if that ONE INDIVIDUAL fulfilled, NOT JUST 8, but 48 such prophecies?
Professor Stoner estimated the odds as ONE IN :
That's one in [1 followed by 157 zeroes]. The figure is so large, I wouldn't even know how to say such number... let alone imagine it.
It reflects virtual IMPOSSIBILITY that ONE PERSON could fulfill 48 of the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament.
So, how many of those prophecies did Jesus actually fulfill, IN PRECISE DETAIL?
Not 8, not 48, but OVER 300.
That's right, OVER 300.
We cannot, for the sake of time and space, list them all here, but just a brief sampling.
Messiah had to:
• Be born in Bethlehem [Micah 5:2].
• From the lineage of David [Isaiah 9:6, 7; Jeremiah 23:5,6; 33:14,15; Ezekiel 17:22-24; 34:23,24].
• Would appear PRIOR to the second temple's destruction [Daniel 9:25-27].
• As Abraham's and Isaac's Seed, He would BLESS ALL NATIONS [gentiles] [Genesis 12:3; 22:18].
• He would be a stone of stumbling to Israel [Isaiah 8:14, 15].
• He'd be REJECTED by Israel [Psalms 118:22, 23].
• He would be the Lamb of God, the Lamb that God Himself would provide to die in our stead [Genesis 22:8].
• He would die on Mount Moriah [Genesis 22:13, 14].
• His Blood would be poured out in atonement for sin [Leviticus 17:11; Isaiah 52:15].
• He would be wounded and pierced for our sins [Psalms 22:16; Isaiah 53:4, 5; Zechariah 12:10; Zechariah 13:6,7].
• He'd be called the Son of God [Psalms 2:12; Proverbs 30:4; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Daniel 3:25].
• He'd be betrayed by a close friend [Psalm 41:9].
• He'd be SOLD for THIRTY PIECES of silver [Zechariah 11:12].
• He would die PRIOR to the second temple's destruction [Isaiah 53:8-10; Daniel 9:26].
• He would NOT see corruption [Psalms 16:10].
• He would RISE FROM THE DEAD [Job 19:23-27; Psalm 2:7,8; 16:9-11;17:15; 22:22; 30:3; 40:2-5; 118:17,18; Isaiah 25:8; 26:19; 53:10; 55:3].
These are 15 VERY SPECIFIC prophecies.
They were ALL fulfilled by Jesus, down to the last jot and tittle.
Do you know any other individual who's EVER fulfilled them?
Do you know any other individual who's EVEN COME CLOSE to fulfilling them?
Which PROVES, BEYOND DISPUTE,that Jesus was, IS, and FOREVER WILL BE Lord, God, Savior, Messiah.
You can play Hebrew word games and fabricate "excuses" for two or three of them, but you CAN'T EXPLAIN AWAY ALL 15 OF THEM.
The evidence is OVERWHELMING and UNRELENTING.
Apart from sheer stubbornness, you CANNOT believe the Tanach [Old Testament] and NOT BELIEVE in the Jewish Messiah who FULFILLED EVERYTHING the Tanach foretold about Him.
Either receive Him as such, or THROW OUT THE ENTIRE BIBLE, BOTH OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2012
DID ISAIAH PREDICT 9/11?
The latest piece of trash making the rounds as supposed "Bible prophecy" states that Isaiah 9:11 and surrounding verses were "a warning" to America of impending destruction, unless it repents, and that they "predicted" the events of 9/11 and that those events would serve such "warning".
I DON'T READ FICTION. I HAVEN'T read the book, nor do I intend to WASTE my money and precious time on it.
However, I am aware of its general message since several people have written about it, shared the book's premise, and asked me to comment.
My comment is "IT'S PURE BALONEY".
There's NOTHING in Isaiah 9:10-11 - or even in that whole 9th chapter of Isaiah - that mentions America IN ANY WAY. In context, it's clearly talking about what happened to Israel some 2,721 years ago.
Those verses were A WARNING to Israel - not to the United States -almost three millennia ago.
Our nation is only 236 years old. The American continent was not discovered until 1492 (only 520 years ago). The territory we know today as the United States DID NOT EXIST in its present form and WAS NOT EVEN KNOWN at the time Isaiah wrote his prophecy.
To say, as the author claims, that this is a "WARNING" TO AMERICA or a "coded" message about 9/11 AND THE TWIN TOWERS is pure, UNSUBSTANTIATED fantasy.
Isaiah is A GREAT PROPHET. Isaiah DID NOT prophesy 9/11.
Warning to DUMB Christians:
Whenever someone gets "cute" with the Bible and USES THE CHAPTER NUMBER AND VERSE NUMBER to "make a point", YOU CAN AUTOMATICALLY DISMISS IT AS WHAT IT REALLY IS, GARBAGE: nothing but a clever marketing ploy.
To say that Isaiah 9:11 predicted 9/11 is LAUGHABLE, and BENEATH the dignity of any serious, self-respecting and Word respecting Bible scholar.
It's NO DIFFERENT than the deceitful con artists who CLAIM that if you give a donation of $68.19 based on Psalm 68:19, daily blessings will manifest in your life.
The Bible, in its original form, as it was inspired by God, contained NO CHAPTER OR VERSE NUMBERS.
Chapter and verse numbers were ADDED ARBITRARILY- AT THE DISCRETION OF Bible TRANSLATORS --- some 2,260 years AFTER Isaiah penned his prophecy.
Therefore, chapter and verse numbers ARE NOT divinely inspired.
I rest my case.
"But it was written by a Messianic Jew"...
Does being Jewish AUTOMATICALLY make one right?
The VAST MAJORITY of Jews REJECT Jesus as Messiah.
They are DEAD WRONG about that. So why would we ASSUME they're right with regards to prophecy?
The guy who came up with the message about so-called "blood moons" (another FICTITIOUS TEACHING) is also a Messianic Jew.
Does THAT make him right?
No, it makes both these guys BU$INE$$ SAVVY.
They both KNOW there's a market out there for this kind of sensationalist nonsense, and they seek TO PROFIT from it.
It's as simple - and CARNAL - as THAT.
I appreciate our Messianic brethren and have often fellowshipped with Messianics, but let's not get carried away by their ethnicity.
Truth is Truth NO MATTER WHO UTTERS IT.
And A LIE IS A LIE, NO MATTER WHO WRITES IT.
I don't need to read this opportunistic author's book to know that America is GOING DOWN.
Revelation 8:7 predicts that the first of the tribulation's trumpet judgments will CONSUME ONE THIRD OF THE EARTH.
That would HAVE TO include PART OF the United States.
In order for Antichrist to rise to power, present super-powers like the U.S., China and Russia MUST all diminish.
According to Scripture the 7 trumpet judgments mentioned in Revelation chapters 8 and 9 WILL TAKE CARE OF THAT.
THAT is SOLID and SCRIPTURAL. The book in question is sheer, BASELESS CRAP.
Like all the other trash being peddled to entertainment-seeking Bible illiterates, this book will end up in the trash bin of prophetic nonsense, with all the books written by supposed "experts" about Y2K, the "North American Union", "the cashless society" and "conspiracy theories",
NONE OF WHICH ARE BIBLICAL.
This book may be religious ENTERTAINMENT. It's NOT Bible prophecy.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2012
SIN AFTER SALVATION
"For God DID NOT send His Son into the world TO CONDEMN THE WORLD; but that the world through Him MIGHT BE SAVED" (John 3:17).
"Therefore, there is now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are IN Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).
"...because the worshipers ONCE PURGED should have had NO MORE CONSCIOUSNESS OF SINS" (Hebrews 10:2).
NO born-again child of God sins ON PURPOSE.
NO born-again child of God SEEKS TO sin.
NO born-again child of God, who really loves Jesus, TAKES ADVANTAGE OF His love and His Grace by sinning DELIBERATELY.
However, ALL Christians will sin AFTER being saved.
THAT is just A FACT.
And ANYONE - I don't care WHO they are - that says otherwise IS LYING (1 John 1:8).
Why do we sin EVEN AFTER receiving Christ?
Because THE TEMPORARY PARTS of our being (carnal mind and body) ARE STILL UN-RENEWED, and are still WEAK and PRONE TO SIN.
As Jesus Himself reminded us "the spirit IS WILLING, but THE FLESH (carnal mind and body) IS WEAK" (Matthew 26:41).
When we become born-again (when we RECEIVE Jesus into our hearts as God and Savior) our spirit is INSTANTLY RECONNECTED TO His Spirit and is INSTANTLY RENEWED (reborn).
Our ETERNAL spirit is, therefore, PERFECT and INCAPABLE OF sinning.
The same CANNOT BE SAID - at this moment in space-time - about our natural minds and bodies.
THEY have NOT been renewed, and won't be until the Church is raptured.
It's at the Rapture that our mind is renewed and it's that renewed mind which, in turn, TRIGGERS the transformation of our bodies from temporary to eternal, from mortal to immortal.
When we are raptured our minds and bodies WILL NO LONGER feel the desire or tendency to sin.
Until then, despite our desire to be "holy", they will sin from time to time BECAUSE OF HUMAN WEAKNESS.
Thus, sin is TEMPORARY.
Sin can only happen in "time".
When "time" ends, ETERNAL PERFECTION will set in. Sin will come to AN END. The VERY RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST WILL FULLY MANIFEST IN EACH OF US.
That which is TRUE and ETERNAL will swallow up that which is FALSE and TEMPORARY, and there will be NO MORE SIN.
What to do about sin UNTIL THEN?
We don't TRY to sin, but we DON'T TRY NOT TO sin, either.
We REST in the TOTAL CONFIDENCE that Jesus PAID FOR every one of our sins... YES, EVEN THAT ONE.
He didn't FIND OUT about the sin you will commit next week or next month when it happens in "time".
He KNEW ABOUT IT BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.
He KNEW ABOUT IT BEFORE He CREATED YOU on this earth.
He KNEW ABOUT IT BEFORE you even EXISTED in your present form.
And He PAID FOR EVERY ONE OF THOSE SINS IN ADVANCE.
That's WHY, in our Heavenly Father's eyes, those of us who are IN Christ can DO NO WRONG.
That's WHY born-again believers SHOULD HAVE NO CONSCIOUSNESS OF SIN.
That's WHY born-again believers SHOULD NOT BEAR ANY FEELINGS OF GUILT.
We have been ETERNALLY SET FREE of sin and guilt.
That's WHY WE ARE ETERNALLY SECURE in Christ. Hallelujah!
That's WHY His Message is called "the Gospel": THE GOOD NEWS!!!
That's ONE of the MANY reasons WHY RECEIVING Jesus as God and Savior IS THE BEST DEAL IN THE UNIVERSE, IN ALL THE AGES, BAR NONE:
We give Him OUR HEARTS, and He gives us His Heart.
We give Him our sins, and He gives us His RIGHTEOUSNESS (2 Corinthians 5:21).
IT DOESN'T GET ANY MORE "RIGHTEOUS" than THAT!!!
In fact, Jesus' Righteousness IS THE ONLY RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT EXISTS, HAS EVER EXISTED, AND WILL EVER EXIST.
Get Jesus' Righteousness - GET JESUS - IN YOUR HEART, AND YOU GOT IT MADE.
FOREVER, and EVER, and EVER, and EVER...
FOR ALL THE ETERNITIES, IN ALL THE REALMS, WORLD WITHOUT END...
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2012
SIN IS TEMPORARY
NOTICE: Today's message deals with ULTIMATE, SPIRITUAL REALITY. Please do not use as a convenient "excuse" to sin. Sin has SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES in this temporal EARTH realm for both Christians and non-Christians.
"O Lord, RIGHTEOUSNESS BELONGS TO YOU"... (Daniel 9:7)
"This is the name by which He will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness" (Jeremiah 23:6).
"His Righteousness ENDURES FOREVER" (Psalm 111:3; 2 Corinthians 9:9)
I have done MORE TEACHING on this ONE TOPIC than on Salvation, Bible prophecy, or ANYTHING ELSE.
Yet NOT A DAY goes by that we don't hear from SEVERAL Christians who live in condemnation.
If you've ever wondered WHY I so hate religion, even the various forms of "Christian" religion, and WHY I constantly assail it, THIS is why:
RELIGION TURNS FREE HUMANS INTO SLAVES.
It turns those redeemed by the Blood of Jesus, whose spiritual birthright is RIGHTEOUSNESS, into SIN CONSCIOUS FEAR MONGERS.
It turns POTENTIAL SOUL WINNERS into INEFFECTIVE, good-for-nothing, defeated, depressed, SELF-CENTERED, SELF-CONDEMNED subordinates.
Every day of my life I battle to UNDO THE DAMAGE done by religion to the human psyche of many who have received Christ.
They should be THE FREEST people on earth: Yet MANY live miserable, defeated lives IN BONDAGE TO GUILT and IN CONSTANT FEAR of "losing" their salvation.
They live IN PERPETUAL PANIC that when the Rapture happens they'll be "left behind" because they weren't "good enough" to "merit" being taken.
Religion has HAMMERED INTO THEIR BRAINS THE LIE THAT THEY play a role IN their own Salvation and that THEIR BEHAVIOR determines if they are saved or not.
RELIGION IS A LIE.
By the Grace of God I'm about to DESTROY THIS RELIGIOUS LIE ONCE AND FOR ALL:
Many Christians UNNECESSARILY STRUGGLE WITH THE VERY SIN THAT JESUS PAID FOR 2,000 years ago (Romans 8:3; Colossians 2:11-14).
They keep trying to "kill" sins that Jesus ALREADY KILLED AND NAILED TO THE CROSS (Hebrews 9:26).
The irony is that THE MORE THEY TRY, THE MORE THEY SIN.
DON'T TRY. STOP TRYING!!!
Your sin is TEMPORARY.
That means, THAT AT SOME POINT IT WILL END.
All by ITSELF!!!
Sin is only possible in the ILLUSORY REALM OF "TIME".
Righteousness, on the other hand, IS ETERNAL...
There's NO SIN in the eternal realm.
Even Lucifer HAD TO invent the FALSE NOTION OF "TIME" and PROJECT into the "future", IN ORDER TO SIN and REBEL AGAINST GOD (Isaiah 14:13).
Righteousness is Jesus Himself MANIFESTING in us.
There's NO RIGHTEOUSNESS but God's and His Righteousness ENDURES FOREVER!!!
Your problem (I'm talking to those who wallow in sin and condemnation) is YOU'RE TOO FOCUSED ON SELF.
You have MORE FAITH in the temporary effects of sin THAN IN THE ETERNAL REDEMPTION AND RIGHTEOUSNESS JESUS BOUGHT FOR YOU.
You have MORE FAITH in what takes place in the FALSE, ephemeral realm of "time" - which is quickly coming to an end - THAN IN WHAT IS TRUE, AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN TRUE, IN THE ETERNAL REALM.
You see your "self" AS A GUILTY SINNER in "time".
Time IS A LIE.
So much so that it will soon EXPIRE.
What happens in "time" is also A LIE.
For those who have been born again - who have THE ETERNAL ONE in their hearts - what happens in "time" WILL SOON BE FORGOTTEN, since it's NOT EVEN REAL.
God sees you AS THE ETERNALLY PERFECT, SINLESS BEING THAT YOU TRULY ARE.
It's high time YOU START SEEING YOURSELF AS HE SEES YOU.
It's time you SEE YOURSELF AS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF JESUS, SINCE HE IS our true Self.
Jesus is WHO WE REALLY ARE, and He is ETERNAL.
The part of you that sins ONLY EXISTS IN THE REALM OF "time".
Thus, the SINS that you-it commits are TEMPORARY.
The Salvation that Jesus purchased for you with His own Blood IS ETERNAL.
The Righteousness and Divine Nature He gave you ARE BOTH ETERNAL, which mean they are true NOW AND ALWAYS - REGARDLESS of what goes on, REGARDLESS of what you do, in this TEMPORARY existence.
How can something TEMPORARY surpass AND BE MORE POWERFUL THAN something ETERNAL?
Sooner or later, the Righteousness of Jesus WILL MANIFEST IN YOU.
In fact, God's Word flat-out says WE ARE PREDESTINED to MANIFEST Him and His Righteousness (Romans 8:21-22, 28-30).
It's ALL BEEN ARRANGED. This "race", brothers and sisters, IS FIXED. We win!
Take your freakin' eyes off your self and your sin, and PUT THEM ON JESUS AND HIS ETERNAL RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Instead of being so focused ON YOU and how many times YOU commit some sexual sin or how many times YOU indulge in some illicit substance, SHARE JESUS WITH OTHERS. SERVE OTHERS.
I guarantee it won't be long before you DON'T EVEN HAVE "TIME" TO THINK - let alone "worry" - about "how much" you sin.
Sin is temporary. Righteousness IS ETERNAL.
What your body does in "time" IS A LIE.
Sin IS A LIE.
STOP believing THE LIE.
Righteousness IS THE ONLY TRUTH THERE IS.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2012
PEACE ON EARTH
We are entering the season of "peace on earth, good will to men".
Everyone, with the possible exception of a few non-Christian religious zealots, wants "peace on earth".
But will there ever BE....?
With the war in Afghanistan, UNREST ALL OVER THE MIDDLE EAST, menacing North Korea, and the ever present threat of a NOW NUCLEAR Iran...
With the ugly specter of terrorism lurking in the shadows, just waiting for the opportune moment to strike...
With Israel being pressured by its adversaries, and even some allies, to make unreasonable concessions...
With the global economy in shambles, and the U.S. economy not far behind...
With over 23 million unemployed here in the U.S., as of November, 2012...
With BILLIONS going to bed hungry every night, in many parts of the world...
Although certainly included in the equation, TRUE PEACE is MORE THAN just the absence of war.
True peace is when we have communion and right standing with God.
That can ONLY be attained by inviting the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ, into our hearts.
True peace is when He who is Peace LIVES IN our hearts.
True peace is when we CEASE FROM OUR OWN WORKS AND TOTALLY REST [TRUST] in His finished work.
True peace also involves our minds, hearts, relationships and finances.
Will the earth EVER be at peace?
Will it ever REST from all the evils mentioned above?
God's children will be temporarily evacuated, the earth will go thru a brief period of purging and cleansing, then the Messiah Himself will return to reign and set up His Kingdom on earth.
When that happens, there will be PERFECT PEACE, in the fullest sense of The Word.
The curse caused by man's sin will be removed, the planet will return to paradisiacal condition, no more toil, no more sweat, or tears, or suffering or sickness or death.
No more war, no more oppression, no more inequality, no more need, no more hunger. No more predators. Even the animal kingdom will be changed, so they won't eat or hurt one another.
The Messianic Era will usher in THE TOTAL PEACE we all want and dream about.
Jesus First Coming brought peace to our hearts.
His Second Coming will bring PEACE EVERYWHERE.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2012
PEACE TREATY ???
The so-called "7-year peace treaty" is one of the biggest hoaxes perpetrated by the prophecy establishment on naive, misinformed Christians.
It's sold millions of copies of worthless prophetic manure to the lazy, ignorant or misinformed.
Being on "Christian" TV and calling oneself "prophecy expert", DOESN'T MAKE THEM ONE any more than being in a garage makes someone a car.
Writing a "Christian" best-seller DOESN'T MAKE ANYONE MORE KNOWLEDGEABLE or more "anointed" than the rest of us.
If you think it does, then Monica Lewinski -- who wrote a "best seller' -- is VERY, VERY "anointed"...
(Don't even "TEMPT ME" on that one)...
THERE IS NO "7-YEAR PEACE TREATY", nor will there ever be!!!
NO SUCH THING is mentioned in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
Daniel 9:27 SAYS NO SUCH THING.
It says that Messiah Prince will STRENGTHEN the ALREADY EXISTING Abrahamic Covenant.
The "7-year Peace Treaty" is PURE, RELIGIOUS FABRICATION.
If you still doubt it, read (or re-read) Myth #8 on this website for a DETAILED explanation.
If you still think there will be such a treaty after you read it, then you either LACK READING COMPREHENSION or you're intellectually and spiritually DISHONEST.
There's NO SUCH THING in the ENTIRE Bible!
If you want to know the truth about prophecy, don't go out like a chicken with its head cut off buying every prophetic fantasy in the religious marketplace: CHECK THE BIBLE OUT! The Book of Daniel is a good place to start, followed by the Book of Revelation.
Study it objectively,WITHOUT preconceived agendas or favored ideas.
ALLOW God's Holy Spirit TO SPEAK TO YOU through His Word.
Seek Truth ABOVE ALL ELSE, WHATEVER it may be.
DON'T JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS: If you want to know the truth, you must take into account EVERYTHING the Bible says about a particular topic, NOT JUST THE PORTIONS YOU LIKE.
BE HONEST with yourself, and with God.
God's Word is ULTIMATE TRUTH, and God, NOT THE PROPHECY ESTABLISHMENT, will have the LAST WORD where prophecy, or ANYTHING ELSE, is concerned.
Trust me: so-called "prophecy experts" don't know any more about prophecy than you do !
MONDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2012
"And in that day will I make Jerusalem A BURDENSOME STONE for all people: ALL THAT BURDEN THEMSELVES WITH IT SHALL BE CUT IN PIECES"... (Zechariah 12:3).
WHAT IS IT about Jerusalem that incites such passion among various ethnicities?
It sits on a mountainous terrain, devoid of natural resources. There's NO MATERIAL wealth there to speak of. It has NO OIL, coal, or natural gas.
It's not a sea port, has no major river, no major airport, no agriculture or manufacturing worthy of mention, no gold, silver, iron or copper, and even lacks the mineral riches of the Dead Sea, some 20 miles south.
Yet MORE BLOOD HAS BEEN SPILLED over this ONE city, than over all other cities of the world combined.
Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.
One could argue that the fascination with this city has to do with its history, and that is largely true, but there's more to it than that. Other cities are also historically and culturally rich, and they DO NOT inspire the same degree of emotion, animosity, and awe.
As Jesus Himself pointed out, even THE PROPHETS God sent to this holy city usually ended up dead (Matthew 23:31; Luke 13:34). He Himself paid the ULTIMATE PRICE right on Mount Moriah, on the VERY SPOT where Abraham offered the Lamb in place of his son Isaac.
If its ancient stones could speak they would tell a violent, bloody history filled with death, suffering and destruction.
And yet, despite all of the above, there's this almost magical quality to the city. There's a SUPERNATURAL-NESS that can be both felt and remembered vividly.
There's NO MIDDLE GROUND where Jerusalem is concerned: people either totally love it, or they totally hate it.
Jerusalem was under Arab rule for 1,200 years (under various caliphates from 638 A.D. to 1,099, with an 88-year period of Crusader rule from 1099-1187; then again under Muslim rule from 1187 to 1516, and under the Ottoman Turks from 1517-1917).
For all the Arab talk about it being the "Palestinian capital", for all the Islamic talk about it being the "third holiest site in Islam", during that long, dark, mournful period IT WAS NOTHING BUT AN UGLY, BARREN, DEPRESSING, UNDEVELOPED, SMELLY PLACE THAT LACKED EVEN A SEWAGE SYSTEM.
I've seen film footage from the early 1900's, and it speaks VOLUMES about what a SAD PLACE it was. When Jesus said it would be "TRAMPLED" by Gentiles (Luke 21:24), He wasn't kidding. It was trampled and OPPRESSED.
Mark Twain's visit to the Holy Land in 1867 (some 50 years before the British wrested Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turks in WWI) was described in "The Innocents Abroad".This is how he described Jerusalem's surroundings:
"..... A DESOLATE COUNTRY whose soil is rich enough, but IS GIVEN OVER WHOLLY TO WEEDS... A SILENT MOURNFUL EXPANSE.... A DESOLATION.... we never saw a human being on the whole route.... HARDLY A TREE OR SHRUB ANYWHERE. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country." (The Innocents Abroad, p. 361-362)
He described Jerusalem itself this way:
"It seems to me that all the races and colors and tongues of the earth must be represented among the fourteen thousand souls that dwell in Jerusalem. RAGS, WRETCHEDNESS, POVERTY AND DIRT, those signs and symbols that indicate the presence of Moslem rule more surely than the crescent-flag itself, ABOUND. Lepers, cripples, the blind, and the idiotic, assail you on every hand... Jerusalem IS MOURNFUL, AND DREARY, AND LIFELESS. I WOULD NOT DESIRE TO LIVE HERE (The Innocents Abroad, Ch. 53, para. 4).
What Muslims COULDN'T DO with Jerusalem in 1,200 years, Jews have done in merely 45 years.
Since Jerusalem was recovered by Israel in 1967, it has BLOSSOMED into what it is today: a dynamic, burgeoning metropolis AND THE ETERNAL CAPITAL OF ISRAEL.
WHAT is it, then, about Jerusalem that makes it SO SPECIAL?
What makes it important enough for three major religions to LITERALLY FIGHT over it?
Jerusalem is where the Kingdom of God began on earth.
It's THE CITY that God Himself CHOSE to "put His Name there" (Psalms 132:13; 1 Kings 11:36; 2 Chronicles 12:13; Ezra 6:12; Nehemiah 1:9).
It even has the symbol of God's Name, the Hebrew letter shin (which stands for God's Name, Shaddai) stamped on its topography (see picture below).
It's in Jerusalem where God's OWN SACRED BLOOD was poured out to redeem mankind and the rest of His fallen Creation.
And it's in Jerusalem where the Kingdom of God will be re-established after the Second Coming of Christ (Zechariah 14:1-9).
Soon virtually everyone left on earth will be UNSAVED.
The UNSAVED will HATE Jerusalem:
They will hate it and it will become a "burdensome stone" for them, because THEY KNOW it's in Jerusalem where the returning Christ will set the headquarters of His Kingdom on earth just a few years from now.
They will want to take and occupy it AS A PRE-EMPTIVE MEASURE.
Since they are Christ haters, they will capture it not out of love, but as a DESPERATE ATTEMPT TO PREVENT Messiah's return and the establishment of His Kingdom on earth.
They will figure that, as long as THEY possess it, Jesus CAN'T HAVE IT.
Ha! Guess again, unbelieving fools.
Those who LOVE Jerusalem will soon be gone.
Its spiritual children will be raptured and its natural children will be forced into hiding.
Its haters will possess her AND OPPRESS HER for 3½ years, and for THE LAST TIME.
After that, the "GAME" will be ALL OVER.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2012
CHAPTER AND VERSE, PLEASE
Just like some people believe ANYTHING they see or hear on TV, there are those who believe ANYTHING they read, see or hear on the Internet.
Religious deception in all media has reached pandemic proportions.
Paul was 100% right when he predicted that, at the time of the end, many would teach "doctrines of devils" (1st Timothy 4:1).
Religious forums and YouTube are filled with self-appointed "Bible teachers" and "prophecy teachers" making ARBITRARY statements, as ABSOLUTE FACT, without a smidgeon of Scripture to back it up.
When someone makes ARBITRARY statements and only makes a vague reference to some biblical passage, or doesn't provide ANY Scriptures to support them, chances are it's because THERE AREN'T ANY.
If there AREN'T ANY that means it's FALSE.
If they do provide Scriptures, read them and MAKE SURE that is, in fact, what they say.
One of the oldest tricks in the book is to cite some verse of Scripture and CLAIM it says something, when in reality it DOESN'T SAY THAT AT ALL. I see it ALL THE TIME.
Hardly a week goes by that we don't hear from someone claiming to be either Christ, or the Antichrist. You may say "oh, well, those people are nuts".
Nuts or not, they are DEAD SERIOUS. And they always provide "scripture" to prove it. Only problem is the scriptures they cite DO NOT say or "prove" they are who they claim to be.
Likewise an often presented teaching is that the Rapture is a "reward" for those who are "worthy", that Jesus said He would spew "worldly" Christians out of His mouth, and that ONLY those who've MADE THEMSELVES ready and have SEPARATED THEMSELVES from the world and living "EXTREMELY HOLY LIVES" would be taken up.
There is NO PLACE in the entire Bible that contains such teaching. The Laodiceans main problem was not worldliness. They WERE SPIRITUALLY LUKEWARM AND HAD NEVER INVITED OR RECEIVED JESUS INTO THEIR HEARTS. That's WHY He was about to spew them out of His mouth.
That's WHY Jesus was standing at the door KNOCKING, WAITING FOR THEM TO INVITE Him IN (Revelation 3:15-20).
There's NOTHING anywhere that tells us the Rapture is "A REWARD" FOR ANYTHING. That's a blatant LIE.
No Christian deserves Salvation.
No Christian deserves the Rapture.
No Christian gets to "earn" being raptured.
Like anything else that comes from God, it's His GIFT to His children.
It's done by His Grace (undeserved goodness) through faith, to those who place their faith (trust) in Jesus.
When one of these know-it-alls comes to you with some weird, FEAR-BASED teaching, you have EVERY RIGHT to ask him (or her) to back it up with the Scriptures.
If they CAN'T, that means it's A LIE.
And if they do provide Scriptures, DON'T ASSUME the verses say WHAT THEY CLAIM: EXAMINE THEM CAREFULLY.
Don't take any mortal's word for ANYTHING, especially if it has to do with God, Salvation or spiritual things.
Just utter those 4 little words: "chapter and verse, please".
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2012
QUIT TRYING TO BE "GOOD"
Legendary 1930's Hollywood icon Mae West was once quoted as saying "when I'm good, I'm really good. But when I'm bad, I'm BETTER".
Double entendre not withstanding, Old Mae West may have had more wisdom that met the eye.
I'm not saying you should be bad, just that trying to be "good" is an exercise in futility.
Why? because there's NO GOODNESS in us (Psalm 53:1).
There's Perfection in us. Perfection lives in our spirits.
When you try to be good, do "good works", and follow religious ordinances, what you're actually doing is NEGATING His Righteousness, which is ALREADY IN YOU.
You're INTERFERING with God's Righteousness manifesting in and thru you.
Your artificial "goodness" ends up COMPETING WITH His Righteousness.
No matter how well-intentioned your artificial "goodness" may be, it'll NEVER satisfy God's standard of righteousness.
That's why Jesus had to put His own Perfect, Divine Righteousness in those who believe on Him[2 Corinthians 5:21].
The ONLY WAY to manifest REAL Goodness and REAL Righteousness is to push all of your own "righteousness" aside, which is as filthy rags [Isaiah 64:6], and FOCUS ON HIS.
There's NO RIGHTEOUSNESS IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE besides God's.
His OWN Righteousness is the ONLY Righteousness He'll accept.
It's THE ONLY RIGHTEOUSNESS THERE IS.
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