December 2013 archives of www.christconnection.net down below
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2013
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% CORRECT when he predicted that, at the time of the end, many would teach "doctrines of devils" (1st Timothy 4:1).
Quite often Christians are swayed by something they read in some religious forum or watched on a YouTube video where self-appointed "prophets" make ARBITRARY statements, as ABSOLUTE FACT, without a smidgeon of Scripture to back it up.
Just recently several people asked about a series of videos that appeared on YouTube predicting the Rapture on Sunday, December 13, 2013.
In a matter of DAYS it had OVER 400 "subscribers" and 30,000 views from Christians frantically seeking SOME SOOTHSAYER to predict their future, WHEN THEY HAVE THE INFALLIBLE WORD OF GOD.
My reply was that, although I wished this man was correct, I couldn't help notice TWO things:
1) That his YouTube channel was ONLY TWO MONTHS OLD, and
2) That there was NO SCRIPTURAL BASIS WHATSOEVER -- ZERO -- for this prediction.
The prediction was ENTIRELY BASED ON the man himself who claims to be a "prophet of God" called to be a prophet 14 years ago, and on a series of dreams he supposedly had.
We now know that he's NOT a prophet of God, that the dreams did not come from God and, sadly, that the prophecy DIDN'T COME TO PASS.
By December 13 (TWO DAYS PRIOR TO "the day" the prophecy was to take place) his channel TOTALLY and CONVENIENTLY disappeared with almost the same speed with which it had appeared.
ALWAYS LOOK FOR scriptural basis, or LACK THEREOF.
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.
And 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 those Scriptures 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.
Another example is those who make irresponsible statements on those stupid prophecy forums (sorry, but 90% of the stuff posted there is MORONIC) 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 would be taken up.
There is NO PLACE in the entire Bible that says or even supports ANY of that.
The Laodiceans main problem was not worldliness, but that they WERE SPIRITUALLY LUKEWARM AND HAD NEVER RECEIVED JESUS INTO THEIR HEARTS.
That's WHY He was about to spew them out of His mouth, which means they'd be EXPELLED FROM His Body.
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 LIE.
Although from God's perspective, we are completely saved (spirit, soul and body, 1 Thessalonians 5:23), only spiritual salvation is manifesting on this earth realm.
The Rapture is the manifestation of our FULL Salvation.
And Jesus PURCHASED our FULL SALVATION WITH HIS BLOOD (NO LESS!) at Golgotha (John 19:30).
At the Rapture our mind is renewed (born-again), which in turn causes the instant transformation or our bodies from mortal to immortal (1 Corinthians 15:50-55).
HOW can anyone teach salvation is by grace through faith (no works required) and then turn around and teach that the FULL manifestation of that Salvation must be earned?
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, of which we are completely UNDESERVING.
This GIFT is given by His Grace (undeserved goodness) 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.
Just utter those 4 little words: "chapter and verse, please".
MONDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2013
IS PETER THE ROCK?
"And I say also unto you: That you are Peter (petros, a movable rock), and UPON THIS ROCK (petra, a large, unmovable mass of rock) I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).
Christ says very clearly that it's HIS Church.
If the Church BELONGS TO JESUS, and is based on FAITH IN Jesus, WHY would He build it on Peter?
Bill Gates, as everyone knows, is the Founder of Microsoft. Microsoft is HIS Company. You could say its FOUNDED ON him. Would Bill Gates tell anyone, under ANY circumstance, that it was founded on his Human Resources Director?
The Church is INFINITELY MORE IMPORTANT than Microsoft, since the Church is ETERNAL. And yet, some insist that it's founded on Peter, one of Christ's preachers, and NOT on Christ Himself.
It doesn't make ANY sense.
The Church is a SPIRITUAL ENTITY - not a religion.
ALL RELIGIONS WILL SOON COME TO AN END.
In the very next verse (Matthew 16:19) Jesus tells Peter: "And I WILL GIVE UNTO YOU the keys of the kingdom of heaven"...
There's NO QUESTION WHATSOEVER about whom Jesus referred to in THAT verse: He would give the keys TO PETER.
We must ask ourselves: If Jesus INTENDED TO SAY His Church would be built on Peter, WHY WASN'T HE EQUALLY CLEAR in the previous verse?
It would have been SO EASY for Him to say "Upon you, Peter, (epi soi petros) I will build MY Church".
But Christ NEVER SAID THAT.
Repeat: Christ NEVER said THAT.
Please note THE CONTRAST in Jesus' words: "UPON THIS ROCK I will build"... "AND TO YOU I will give".
THIS JUXTAPOSITION ALONE PROVES that Peter is NOT the Rock on which the Church would be built.
But there's plenty more...
1. Deuteronomy 32:4
"He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are justice: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he".
2. Deuteronomy 32:30
"How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had given them up?"
3. Deuteronomy 32:31
"For their rock is not like our Rock, as even our enemies concede".
4. Deuteronomy 32:37
"And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted?"
5. 1 Samuel 2:2
There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside you: neither is there any rock like our God.
6. 2 Samuel 22:2-3
"The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge"...
7. 2 Samuel 22:32
"For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?"
8. 2 Samuel 22:47
The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior!
9. 2 Samuel 23:3
"The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me"...
10. Psalm 18:2
"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in Whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold".
11. Psalm 18:31
"For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?"
12. Psalm 18:46
"The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!"
13. Psalm 27:5
"For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock".
14. Psalm 28:1
"To you, Lord, I call; you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me".
15. Psalm 31:1-2
In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge".
16. Psalm 40:1-2
"I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand".
17. Psalm 42:9
"I say to God my Rock, Why have you forgotten me?"
18. Psalm 61:2
"From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I".
19. Psalm 62:1-2
"Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation: he is my fortress, I will never be shaken".
20. Psalm 62:5-6
"Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken".
We read, time and again, THAT ONLY GOD IS THE ROCK and that there's NO ROCK APART FROM Him. Therefore, UNLESS Peter is God, he CANNOT BE the rock.
21. Psalm 71:1-3
"In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me. Be my rock of refuge".
22. Psalm 78:35
"They remembered that God was their Rock, that the Most High God was their Redeemer".
23. Psalm 81:16
(God speaking) "But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you."
24. Psalm 89:26
"He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.'
25. Psalm 92:15
"...proclaiming, "The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him."
26. Psalm 94:22
"But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge".
27. Psalm 95:1
"Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation".
28. Isaiah 8:13-14
"The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread. He will be a holy place; for both Israel and Judah he will be a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall".
29: Isaiah 17:10
"You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress".
30. Isaiah 28:16
"Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation"...
31. Isaiah 32:2
"And that man (in context, the Messiah) shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a hot land".
32. Isaiah 51:1
"Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord: Look to the Rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn".
33. Daniel 2:44-45
"In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision OF THE ROCK cut out of a mountain, but NOT BY HUMAN HANDS-A ROCK that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces".
34. Matthew 7:24-25 (Jesus speaking)
Therefore everyone who hears THESE WORDS OF MINE and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man WHO BUILT HIS HOUSE ON THE ROCK (petra). And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock"...
35. Acts 4:11-12 (Peter speaking)
"Jesus IS THE STONE you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone. SALVATION IS FOUND IN NO ONE ELSE, FOR THERE IS NO OTHER NAME under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."
36. Romans 9:31-33
"But the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works: They stumbled over THE STUMBLING STONE. As it is written: See, I lay in Zion A STONE that causes people to stumble and A ROCK that makes them fall, and the one who believes in Him will never be put to shame."
37.1 Corinthians 10:4
"...and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock (petra) was Christ".
38. Ephesians 2:19-21
"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people and also members of his household, BUILT ON THE FOUNDATION OF the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building (Church) is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit".
39. 1 Peter 2:4-8
"As you come to Him, the living Stone-rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him- you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house...offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, A CHOSEN AND PRECIOUS CORNERSTONE, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame."
Now TO YOU WHO BELIEVE, THIS STONE IS PRECIOUS. But to those who do not believe:"The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone and A stone that causes people to stumble and A ROCK THAT MAKES THEM FALL."
We have presented 39 Bible passages that say that God, and only God, is the Rock.
Roman Catholic hierarchy presents ONLY ONE verse, which it manipulates capriciously, INVENTING in the process a whole religious institution, an entire hierarchy, supposed "successors", the title "Pope", and supposed "papal infallibility", NONE OF WHICH are mentioned ANYWHERE IN THAT ONE VERSE or, for that matter, ANYWHERE IN THE ENTIRE BIBLE!!!
Peter was NEVER at a loss for words.
Since Jesus spoke DIRECTLY TO Peter in Matthew 16:18: had you been Peter, and had THE SLIGHTEST doubt what Jesus meant, WOULDN'T YOU HAVE ASKED HIM:
"Lord, WHO IS THE ROCK upon which you'll build YOUR Church? Is it you or me"?
Peter was Jewish and, as such, he was well acquainted with most of the aforementioned Scriptures that state UNEQUIVOCALLY that God ALONE is the Rock.
Peter had just confessed that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, hence God.
Peter KNEW, and DIDN'T HAVE THE SLIGHTEST DOUBT,that the Rock that Jesus had referred to, upon which Jesus' Church would be built, was and IS Jesus Himself. Peter tells us NO FEWER THAN 7 TIMES in the Book of Acts and his first epistle, THAT THE ROCK IS JESUS.
Moses says that God is the Rock.
Samuel says that God is the Rock.
David says (over and over) that God is the Rock.
Isaiah says that God is the Rock.
Daniel says that God is the Rock.
Paul says that God is the Rock.
Jesus says that He (God) is the Rock.
And Peter himself says 7 TIMES that Jesus (God) IS THE ROCK.
In order to insist that Peter is the rock on which Christ would build HIS OWN Church, Roman Catholic hierarchy MUST CONTRADICT Moses, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Daniel, Paul, Jesus and EVEN PETER.
Moreover, it MUST DIRECTLY CONTRADICT the Holy Spirit (God) who inspired the Bible.
It is IMPOSSIBLE for God to lie (Romans 3:4; Hebrews 6:18).
THE ONLY LIARS are those who CONTRADICT GOD.
As Paul CLEARLY STATED in 1 Corinthians 3:11:
"For NO OTHER FOUNDATION CAN ANYONE LAY than what is laid, WHICH IS JESUS CHRIST".
You really gotta be DISHONEST, and have a crooked agenda, in order to botch this one.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2013
KEYS OF THE KINGDOM
"And I will give to you (in context, to Peter) THE KEYS OF the Kingdom of Heaven: and WHATEVER YOU SHALL BIND ON EARTH SHALL BE WHAT HAS BEEN BOUND IN HEAVEN: and whatsoever YOU SHALL LOOSE ON EARTH SHALL BE WHAT HAS BEEN LOOSED IN HEAVEN (Matthew 16:19).
What did Jesus mean by the "keys of the Kingdom of Heaven"?
There's one prevailing theory that launched a huge world-wide denomination. It basically says that Peter and his "successors" were given authority to forgive sins and to allow people to enter heaven, or prevent them from entering. That's why each papal coat of arms shows two crossed keys.
Evangelicals, who vigorously and correctly argue that Christ and not Peter is the rock on which the Church is built, seem to have NO ANSWER for this verse about the keys, so they just sweep it under the rug.
Nice going, guys.
Keys are instruments used to OPEN and LOCK doors. When you OPEN the door to something or someone, you turn it LOOSE. When you SHUT the door you incarcerate or keep whoever or whatever BOUND. Hold that thought.
John the Baptist preached that the Kingdom of God (or Kingdom of Heaven, same thing) was "near" (Matthew 3:2).
Then Jesus showed up also preaching the Kingdom was "near" (Matthew 4:17).
Then He sent out His disciples to preach the Kingdom was "near" (Matthew 10:6).
The Kingdom was NEAR, by virtue of the King manifesting on earth publicly in human form.
However, the Kingdom HAD NOT YET COME.
Hence, the prayer Jesus taught the disciples: "your Kingdom COME" (Matthew 6:10).
HAD His Kingdom ALREADY COME, there would be NO NEED to make that petition.
That's why Jesus didn't tell Peter "to you I give" (present tense), but "to you I WILL GIVE" (future tense) the Keys of the Kingdom because the Kingdom HAD NOT YET MANIFESTED ON EARTH.
Jesus Himself told Pilate, JUST PRIOR TO His Crucifixion, that His Kingdom was "not of this world" (John 18:36).
The Kingdom of Heaven CAME and manifested on earth FOR THE FIRST TIME on the day of Pentecost, 33 A.D. when the Holy Spirit came upon the 120 gathered in the Upper Room, right above King David's Tomb (Acts 2:1-4, 29).
This confirmed not only that Jesus is the Messiah and rightful heir to David's Throne (Luke 1:32), but that His Kingdom would be FIRST AND FOREMOST SPIRITUAL, and would take place IN PEOPLE'S HEARTS, just like King David was a man "after God's OWN heart" (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22).
The SPIRITUAL Kingdom CAME on Pentecost, and we find THE FULFILLMENT of Jesus' promise to give Peter the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven in Acts 2:5-24.
RIGHT AFTER the disciples were filled with the Spirit and spoke in tongues, WHO SPOKE for them and explained to the multitude what had just happened?
WHO HAD THE PRIVILEGE of LEADING (LOOSING) THE FIRST CONVERTS (about 3,000) into the Kingdom of Heaven? (Acts 2:41)
By preaching on that day, as he did, Peter USED THE SYMBOLIC KEYS JESUS HAD PROMISED HIM TO OPEN THE DOOR OF THE KINGDOM WIDE OPEN to anyone who would "repent and be baptized in the Name of Jesus" (Acts 2:38).
He effectively got to turn the Kingdom of Heaven LOOSE on the earth, and (praise Jesus forever!) that Kingdom has been growing ever since.
That Kingdom, as Daniel prophesied, will eventually manifest IN PHYSICAL as well as spiritual form on this earth: it will never end, and WILL EVENTUALLY TOPPLE and replace ALL GENTILE KINGDOMS (Daniel 2:44-45).
Peter was THE FIRST PERSON to ever OPENLY AND PUBLICLY CONFESS Jesus as "the Messiah, the Son of the Living God" (Matthew 16:16).
Hence, he got to BE THE FIRST to LOOSE the Messiah's Kingdom on earth and usher in THE FIRST BELIEVERS (other than the 120 disciples themselves) into that Kingdom, which Jesus HAD ALREADY LOOSED in Heaven by His death, Resurrection and Ascension.
Peter also WAS THE FIRST TO OPEN the door to the Kingdom of Heaven to gentiles by LOOSING THEM to enter some 14 years later (Acts 10: 34-48).
What about BINDING, didn't Jesus also tell Peter he would bind what was already bound in heaven?
Yes. We see that part of Jesus' promise fulfilled in Acts 8:20-23 when Simon the sorcerer offered him money in exchange for the GIFT OF the Holy Spirit, and Peter flat-out refused it and rebuked him. He bound ON EARTH what was bound in heaven.
We see it again in Acts 15:5-11 when Judaizers tried (as they still try today) TO IMPOSE circumcision and law-keeping AS MEANS OF JUSTIFICATION and Peter immediately refuted them (BOUND IT ON EARTH, as it had been bound in heaven since Jesus had made a NEW Testament based ENTIRELY on God's Grace).
He was then backed by Jesus' brother James (Acts 15:13-15).
Was Peter THE ONLY ONE given the ability to bind and loose? No.
In Matthew 18:18 Jesus gave that same authority to "bind" and "loose" on earth to the other disciples.
Peter simply got to be THE FIRST (that's why he was given the metaphoric keys) because he was THE FIRST to recognize and confess Jesus as the Messiah.
That's also why Peter is ALWAYS MENTIONED FIRST among the 12 apostles.
That's ALL it means.
Nowhere did Jesus say Peter would "rule" the Church.
Nowhere did Jesus EVEN REMOTELY indicate THAT THIS SPECIAL privilege granted to Peter for his bold confession would be PASSED DOWN TO ANY "SUCCESSORS" REAL OR INVENTED.
Nowhere did Jesus say He would make Peter "infallible", let alone anyone FALSELY CLAIMING TO BE his "successor".
And NEVER do we find Peter sitting on a throne, living in a palace, or wearing a jewel-encrusted crown and crucifix.
It's very convenient TO CLAIM to be "Peter's successor" - thereby creating an autocratic religious DICTATORSHIP - when one is living in a fancy palace, sitting on a fancy throne, dressed in fancy apparel, wearing a fancy crown and ring, and protected by a small army of Swiss guards.
Those who WOULD BE "Peter's successors" MUST FOLLOW Peter's example:
1. Confess Jesus BOLDLY and OPENLY as the Messiah, Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16).
2. Must state BOLDLY AND OPENLY, as Peter did, that Jesus and NOT Peter is the rock or stone upon which the Church is built (Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:4-8).
3. State BOLDLY, OPENLY and UNAMBIGUOUSLY that "there is Salvation IN NO OTHER: That there is NO OTHER NAME on earth whereby we can be saved" (Acts 4:12).
4. CLEARLY state that Salvation is BY GRACE ONLY, THROUGH FAITH ONLY, NOT BY WORKS (Acts 15:5-11).
5. Trust Jesus enough to WALK ON WATER (Matthew 14:29).
6. Follow Jesus wherever He goes (Matthew 19:27).
7. Heal others with his mere shadow (Acts 5:15-16).
8. Raise the dead (Acts 9:40-41).
9. Be willing to DIE for Jesus (John 21:18-19).
If they can't or don't follow Peter's example, they are NOTHING BUT pretentious opportunists.
They have NO CLAIM WHATSOEVER to Peter's spiritual legacy, and THERE'S NO WAY IN HEAVEN OR EARTH that they can be Peter's "successors".
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2013
HOW TO PLEASE GOD
It's a question that every true believer faces sooner or later:
HOW do we please God?
WHAT MUST WE DO in order to please the Almighty?
The answer will shock many of you:
That's right: NOT A THING.
There's ABSOLUTELY NOTHING you can do to please God.
THE ONLY WAY to please God is to COMPLETELY TRUST (have faith in) Jesus Christ and WHAT HE DID to save US.
There's NO OTHER WAY (John 14:6):
"But WITHOUT FAITH it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God"... (Hebrews 11:6).
Please note what Scripture DOES NOT say:
"WITHOUT KEEPING THE 10 COMMANDMENTS it's impossible to please God". Or,
"WITHOUT KEEPING THE LAW (Torah) it's impossible to please God". Or,
"WITHOUT OBSERVING THE 24-HOUR SABBATH it's impossible to please God". Or,
"WITHOUT CIRCUMCISION OF THE FLESH it's impossible to please God". Or,
"WITHOUT OBSERVING DIETARY LAWS it's impossible to please God". Or,
"WITHOUT BELONGING TO __________ (fill in the name of ANY denomination or religion) it's impossible to please God". Or,
"WITHOUT BEING A GOOD PERSON AND DOING GOOD WORKS it's impossible to please God". Or,
"WITHOUT FOLLOWING THE TEACHINGS OF _____________ (insert the name of ANY mortal religious leader) it's impossible to please God".
You can't find ONE verse from Genesis to Revelation that makes such statements.
Even if you somehow managed to "do" ALL THESE THINGS, and keep every one of these TO PERFECTION, your entire life,God would still NOT BE pleased.
The ONLY THING that pleases Him is YOUR FAITH (TRUST) and NOTHING ELSE.
ALL that is required to please God is FAITH (complete TRUST) in Jesus' perfect and divine Work of Redemption.
Jesus DID ALL THE WORK, leaving ZERO for us to do.
"He that comes to God (Jesus) MUST BELIEVE... that HE IS A REWARDER"...
Unfortunately, you'll never hear that from religion.
Religion says He is A PUNISHER.
But He's not.
Why? Because Jesus ALREADY TOOK your punishment and mine on the cross!
He PAID IN FULL the punishment for your sins and mine (John 19:30).
Jesus is NOT A PUNISHER. He is A LOVER:
He is A REWARDER of those who DILIGENTLY SEEK Him.
You can live IN constant FEAR of God's "punishment" and be lost.
Or you can invite Jesus into your heart: receive Him as only God and Savior, TRUST the full Salvation He bought FOR YOU, and BE ETERNALLY SAVED.
Then, as if that weren't marvelous enough, you can collect your REWARD.
And there's NO GREATER "REWARD" than Christ Himself.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2013
7 IN PROPHECY
In the Bible, different numbers represent different things:
1: Represents God.
2: Division (from God).
3: The Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)
4: Represents the earth (Zechariah 6:5; Acts 10:11; Revelation 7:1; 20:8).
5: Represents grace (Genesis 17:5; Leviticus 26:8; 1 Corinthians 14:19).
6: Is the "number of man" (Genesis 1:26-31; Revelation 13:18).
8: (7 + 1) is the number of new beginnings.
But 7 Is the number of PERFECTION, COMPLETION, and REST.
No other number figures as prominently in the Bible, or in Bible prophecy, as the number 7.
For starters, the MAJOR Timeline given for BOTH the First and Second Comings our Lord is ALL based on 7's:
70 sevens ("weeks") (Daniel 9:24).
7 sevens (Daniel 9:25)
62 sevens (Daniel 9:26)
½ seven (Daniel 9:27)
Then, of course, there's the Book of Revelation, which gives us a largely chronological order of end time events, including:
7 letters (Revelation 1:4; 2:1; 3:22)
7 churches (Revelation 1:4, 11)
7 spirits (Revelation 1:4; 3:1; 4:5),
7 candlesticks (Revelation 1:13, 20)
7 stars (Revelation 1:16, 20)
7 church angels (Revelation 1:20)
7 seals (Revelation 5:1,5)
7 horns (Revelation 5:6)
7 eyes (Revelation 5:6)
7 angels with trumpets (Revelation 8:2, 6)
7 trumpets (Revelation 8:2, 6)
7 thunders (Revelation 10:3)
7 heads (Revelation 12:3; 13:1; 17:3)
7 crowns (Revelation 12:3)
7 angels with plagues (Revelation 15:1)
7 last plagues (Revelation 15:1)
7 vials (Revelation 15:7)
7 hills (Revelation 17:9), and
7 kings (Revelation 17:10)
If the number 7 is SO PREDOMINANT in prophecy, if the Second Coming itself happens AT THE END OF 70 "sevens", shouldn't it also be PRECEDED BY a SEVEN?
While the tribulation itself lasts "only" 3½ years (Daniel 12:7), the more you analyze it, the more CONVINCED one becomes that there MUST BE a 7-year period that precedes the Kingdom of God on earth. That 7-year period consists of birth pangs which lead to the tribulation.
God even stuck a 7-year period AFTER the Millennium (Ezekiel 39:9).
The Millennium, therefore, is both preceded and followed by 7-year periods.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2013
JEWS & PAGANISM
It's bad enough to hear from supposed "Christians" and "Messianic Jews" that celebrating the Birth of the Messiah is "wrong" and "pagan":
But the last straw is when a non-Messianic Jew pretends to "inform" Christians that we SHOULDN'T celebrate Christmas because its origins are pagan.
Like we're all a bunch of ignoramuses who don't know WHAT we believe...
She went into the usual rote condemnation of Christmas trees, etc.
And the customary B.S. that December 25 was the day the Romans celebrated the winter solstice and Sol Invictus.
I pointed out that the God of Israel COMMANDED Jews to take TREE BRANCHES and build sukkas to celebrate Sukkot (Leviticus 23:40).
Jews decorate those tree branches with brightly colored ornaments, as I've seen many times with my own eyes.
Jesus was born during Sukkot (John 1:14).
That's why Christians decorate tree branches with bright ornaments, to remember and celebrate His Birth.
So, it's NOT pagan when Jews decorate tree branches, ONLY WHEN Christians do it?
Why am I even sharing this?
Because 99% of Christians aren't prepared to explain WHY they do what they do, or WHY we believe what we believe.
Pastors and ministers present those tedious, yawning Christmas plays year after year, but they fail to prepare the congregation to face or answer challenges.
And because, ever since Messianic Judaism became "popular", there's this tendency among dumb Christians to accept ANYTHING STATED BY JEWS as "truth".
There's ONLY ONE JEW who got EVERYTHING right and His Name is Jesus (John 14:6).
The dictionary definition of "pagan" is "a follower of a POLYTHEISTIC religion; a person who worships MANY GODS OR GODDESSES or the earth or nature".
Real Christians ONLY worship the One true God, who incarnated in Jesus, the One true Messiah and ONLY SAVIOR (Acts 4:12).
There's NOTHING PAGAN ABOUT celebrating Him.
It's the height of hypocrisy for a Jewish woman, who lives in Israel, to tell Christians NOT to celebrate Christmas because it's "pagan" when her country MAKES MILLIONS OF DOLLARS each year from Christian tourism during "pagan" Christmas.
In fact, this woman CARES NOTHING about paganism.
Her ONLY problem with Christmas is that it celebrates JESUS.
If she were really that concerned with pagan practices she'd be proselytizing Hindus, who believe in multiple gods (demons), instead of telling Christians NOT TO celebrate the Messiah's Birth.
I told her she KNOWS NOTHING about Christmas or the Christian faith, and that SHE SHOULD STICK TO SOMETHING SHE KNOWS, like baking challah.
(To her credit, she did apologize, claiming that she "didn't mean to offend").
Look, I love Israel and love Jews - even those who reject their Messiah. I'll stand with them and support them unwaveringly, EXCEPT where the Person of Jesus is concerned.
If Jews want to talk about "pagan" practices, THEY NEED TO TAKE A LONG LOOK IN THE MIRROR before they point the finger at us:
You want pagan?
Jews don't even call the months in their rabbinic calendar by their God-given, Torah-given names, but BY THEIR PAGAN BABYLONIAN NAMES.
Why don't you call the FIRST month Aviv, like God calls it (Exodus 13:4; 23:15; 34:18; Deuteronomy 16:1), instead of "Nisan", hypocrites?
...Or the seventh month by its God-given name Ethanin (1 Kings 8:2), instead of Tishri?
Why don't they talk about their fifth month, which is named after PAGAN Babylonian god Tammuz?
Why don't they steer many of their own Jewish peers AWAY FROM Yoga which is a form of PAGAN Hinduism?
Why don't they talk about THEIR OWN SYNAGOGUE in Beth Shean, dating all the way back to the 6th century (518-527 A.D.) where, IN VIOLATION OF THEIR OWN TORAH (Exodus 20:4), they had AN IMAGE of THE VERY SAME Sol Invictus deity on which they claim the December 25 celebration of Christmas is based?
I won't even go into Israel's long, documented history of spiritual infidelity (idolatry) which caused the destruction and displacement of the Northern Kingdom and, which, eventually led to the destruction of the first temple and the exile of Jews into Babylon.
That is why RELIGION is such AN ABOMINATION in God's eyes:
Because it spawns a bunch of self-righteous, two-faced phonies who ONLY EXCEL at "finding fault" in others, instead of FIRST removing the PLANK from their own eye (Matthew 7:1-5).
Nit picking hypocrites who make sin and human flaws BIGGER than the God in Whom they CLAIM to believe.
I would never have the ARROGANCE to tell any Jew NOT TO celebrate Hanukkah.
I would never call dreidels or gelt "pagan", even though Jews got those traditions from Europeans, who got them from PAGAN Druids.
And I sure as hell don't need a lost, unsaved Jew, WHO CAN'T EVEN RECOGNIZE HER OWN GOD, telling me NOT TO celebrate His human Birth.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2013
THE MOST FAMOUS BIRTHDAY
"For TO YOU is born this day in the city of David a Savior: who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11).
Jesus' birthday is the most famous and widely celebrated birthday in the world.
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.
He had become Emmanuel: God WITH US.
He would walk and live among humans as human.
Imagine Almighty God MANIFESTING AS one of 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 sin PREVENTED US from going 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).
Christmas is not just for "holy" people. It's not just for religious people. It's mainly FOR SINNERS!
If you're a sinner, CHRISTMAS IS FOR YOU.
YOU are THE REASON Jesus came into this world in human form.
The main reason Jesus came was to CLEANSE OUR SINS, and FOREVER REMOVE THEM from us (1 John 3:5).
He came to ERASE your sins (John 1:29; Hebrews 9:26).
Christmas is about God's UNCONDITIONAL LOVE and resolute willingness to sink to our low level, so He could restore us to His Highest.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2013
ONE SOLITARY LIFE
This poem was written by the late Dr. James Allan Francis (1864-1928). I love to read it, especially at Christmas. To this day, I can't do it without getting all "choked up". 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.
He never had a TV show.
He never made any movies.
He NEVER asked for money.
He didn't own great buildings.
He never had a private airplane.
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 COMBINED...
...Have NOT AFFECTED THE LIFE OF MAN ON THIS EARTH, let alone FOR ALL ETERNITY, as much as THAT One Solitary Life.
Glory to the King of kings and Lord of lords! Hallelujah to the Eternal God!
Praise You, Lord Jesus! Thank You, and Happy Birthday!
MONDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2013
THE ONLY GIFT HE WANTS
For God SO LOVED the world that He GAVE His only begotten Son: that WHOEVER believes on Him will not be lost but have ETERNAL life" (John 3:16).
Christmas is a time to get together with family and friends, and exchange gifts.
We give gifts to one another in memory of THE GIFT that God gave us on that day:
His ONLY begotten son.
What a gift!
Jesus is THE GIFT that keeps on giving because He is eternal.
He is THE GIFT that is with us ALWAYS.
He is THE GIFT we can use our whole lives.
He is THE GIFT that no one who receives would need or dare to exchange.
He fits everyone and has no expiration date.
He is THE BEST, MOST EXPENSIVE, and MOST BEAUTIFUL gift ever given, BAR NONE.
We give each other gifts on His Birthday.
We invest so much time, money and care in selecting the "right gift" for others.
We worry so much about whether they'll like what we got them or not.
But how much time have we invested in GIVING Jesus the gift He wants?
THE ONLY "gift" He's EVER WANTED:
Your WHOLE heart (Ephesians 3:17).
It is, after all, HIS BIRTHDAY, not ours!
The WHOLE REASON Christ came as a baby was to live a human life, JUST LIKE ours, but WITHOUT SIN, grow up and then DIE and shed His holiest Blood TO BUY US BACK for His Father (1 Peter 1:18-19).
So now that most of us have selected gifts, for Jimmy and Ashley, for mom and dad, for Aunt Sophie and Uncle Al, and even for our pets, HOW ABOUT GIVING JESUS, ON HIS BIRTHDAY, THE ONLY THING HE WANTS?
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2013
What would Christmas be without Christ?
This Holy Day is ALL about the birth of the Savior and Messiah.
Yet the world WANTS TO celebrate Christmas WITHOUT the VERY REASON for its celebration:
They already managed to "X" out the Name of Christ, by writing "Xmas".
Even then, Christ 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 "Happy Holidays"... whatever THAT means.
The same mega-hypocrites who NOW OPEN ON THANKSGIVING and can't wait ‘til Christmas time so they can sell a bunch of stuff and realize huge profits that put them "in the black" financially, don't want to say "Merry Christmas" lest they "offend" a few idiots.
They don't want to GIVE UP THE HOLIDAY, since it means HUGE PROFITS, but they want to IGNORE THE VERY ONE the Holy Day CELEBRATES.
Personally, I don't shop at places that DON'T 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 Washington had its 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 the REAL 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, even the Nativity Scenes.
They'll WISH they COULD say "Merry Christmas", but won't be able to.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2013
THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
The 12 days of Christmas run from December 24 to January 6, when many Christians celebrate the Epiphany.
This carol's not only fun to sing, but packed with meaningful symbolism.
In case you're wondering what eight maids a-milking and 10 lords a-leaping have to do with the Savior's birth, read below:
“My true love” (meaning Jesus) sent to me:
1. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Himself. I'll explain in a minute.
2. The TWO turtledoves are the Old and New Testaments.
3. THREE French hens stand for faith, hope and love.
4. The FOUR CALLING BIRDS are the four Gospels.
5. The FIVE GOLD RINGS recall the first five books of the Old Testament, which are the Hebrew Torah (Law), or the Pentateuch.
6. The SIX GEESE A-LAYING stand for the six days of creation.
7. The SEVEN SWANS a-swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
8. The EIGHT MAIDS a-milking are the eight Beatitudes.
9. NINE LADIES DANCING are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.
10. The TEN LORDS A-LEAPING are the Ten Commandments.
11. ELEVEN PIPERS PIPING represent the eleven faithful Apostles.
12. TWELVE DRUMMERS DRUMMING symbolize the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles Creed.
If you think Jesus being symbolized as A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE sounds blasphemous, remember:
"Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you UNDER MY WINGS, AS A HEN DOES HER CHICKS, but thou would not have it so" (Luke 13:34 and Matthew 23:34).
And “Christ HAS REDEEMED US FROM the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that HANGS ON A TREE” (Galatians 3:13).
The reason Jesus (the "partridge in a pear tree") is mentioned IN EACH OF the 12 days is because EVERYTHING, Old and New Testaments, the law and the prophets, are TOTALLY FULFILLED in Him.
That "silly song” we sing at Christmas time has more meaning than we thought.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2013
O, HOLY NIGHT
O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, divine!
O night, O night divine!
There are so many beautiful Christmas carols... Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Little Town of Bethlehem, What Child is this?, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Angels We Have Heard On High, Silent Night... but if I had to pick my personal favorite it would be this one.
The melody is beautiful, the lyrics are beautiful.
O Holy Night... it baffles human reason that the Creator God, the Almighty God, the Sovereign, all-knowing God, would CHOOSE to incarnate as a tiny Babe.
That the King of the cosmos would be born in human form to humble parents, in a humble manger,
That the Master of the Universe would be willing to TAKE OFF His glory, and take on the form of A SERVANT... for our sake,
No longer would He seem remote and unreachable to mankind.
Glory to God: No longer was He just (from our vantage point) "in the Highest" but now He was also "ON EARTH" [Luke 2:14]:
...Immanuel, God WITH US [Matthew 1:23].
It boggles the mind, but warms the heart.
It ignites and unquenchable fire in our Spirits.
It strengthens our hearts and gives us hope.
It fills us with unspeakable joy.
O Holy Night.
O Night Divine... for the Divine One DESCENDED to us, so we could ASCEND to Him.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2013
Most Christians know Bethlehem as the town where Jesus was born.
But they're totally unaware of what's going on in Bethlehem today.
Bethlehem was, until recently, a 100% Christian town.
That's right. Not all Palestinians are Muslim.
SOME Palestinians are Christian.
Since Hamas' takeover of neighboring Gaza in 2006, Christians have been systematically harassed, threatened, their businesses and homes destroyed; they've been tortured, murdered, and the few remaining families DRIVEN OUT.
Yet the world, including the Christian world, is OBLIVIOUS to their suffering.
We don't hear A WORD about Hamas' unprovoked atrocities in the media.
We don't hear A WORD about it from that supposed "champion of human rights", the United Nations.
We don't hear A WORD about it from the Vatican, even when Pope Benedict XVI visited the Holy Land and criticized Jews for their alleged mistreatment of Palestinians, but said ZERO about Hamas' mistreatment of Christians, or their destruction of Christian lives and property AT WILL, and indiscriminately.
We don't hear A WORD from the World Council of Churches.
And, saddest of all, we don't hear A WORD from the Evangelical community.
Palestinian Christians have NO VOICE and no representation in the public square.
Their plight is totally ignored by their brothers and sisters elsewhere.
The violence was so bad in recent years that tourism, even during the Christmas season, dwindled to a virtual halt.
However, in the past few years it's been a different story.
There have been RECORD NUMBERS OF CHRISTIANS who made pilgrimage to Bethlehem, and even attended Mass at the Church of the Nativity.
What makes me angry is that wicked terrorists have capitalized ON Christian IGNORANCE to boost tourism and line their pockets with dollars and pounds, because THEY KNOW the Christian world HAS NO CLUE about what's been going on, or how their Christians brothers and sisters have been robbed, assaulted, murdered, evicted and mistreated.
THEY'RE COUNTING ON Christian IGNORANCE.
Breaks my heart to even say it…
They even piped Christmas carols into Manger Square and "decorated" the streets with Christmas trees in preparation for the Christmas tourist season, as if putting up trees and garlands would compensate for the unjustified violence and bloodshed.
If that's not the height of religious hypocrisy and ultimate mockery, I don't know what is!
These evil bastards have gone so far as to claim that Jesus, a Jew through and through, was "the first Palestinian martyr".
That, of course, is a contradiction of terms, since Muslims don't believe Jesus died on the cross AT ALL. How's that for ethnic spin?
Please pray for our Christian brothers in Bethlehem, and in the rest of the Arab world.
Persecution has dramatically increased in recent years in Iraq, where they are afraid to celebrate Christmas for fear of Muslim retaliation. Yeah, THAT Iraq: The one our brave soldiers spilled their blood to "liberate".
They're also being persecuted in places like Egypt, Syria, Iran, Indonesia, Nigeria, and others too numerous to mention.
Pray for their safety and protection. Pray that they really know Jesus, instead of just having religion, and are ready for His appearing. Thanks.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2013
SOMETHING ABOUT MARY
Of all the biblical characters, NO ONE is more controversial, and divisive, than Jesus' mother Mary.
There's NO MIDDLE GROUND where this woman of God is concerned: religious people either IDOLIZE HER calling her "the mother of God" and worshiping her, or try to make her less than she actually was and is.
While some Catholics (not all) go overboard and turn Mary into a goddess I, for one, think that evangelicals do not give Mary the credit she richly deserves.
She was A VERY YOUNG girl when Gabriel appeared, about age 13, since it was customary for Jewish girls to be betrothed BEFORE reaching puberty, when they were around 12½ years old.
She could have disbelieved or resisted Gabriel's announcement that she would be the mother of the Messiah, but instead showed outstanding maturity and humility by saying "look, I'm the Lord's servant: be it done unto me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).
She TRUSTED God and thought little about herself: After all, she could have been repudiated by Joseph her betrothed once he found out about her pregnancy (Matthew 1:19-20).
Worse, she could have been STONED TO DEATH, since that was the Torah-prescribed penalty for adultery and fornication (Deuteronomy 22:22-24).
God obviously KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING when He chose Mary, among all the Jewish maidens, to be the mother of the Messiah.
Let's take a closer look at Mariology.
Our teaching may not change widespread religious brainwashing, but for those who seek Truth IN SPITE OF MAN-INVENTED RELIGIOUS DOGMA, such Truth is found in Scripture:
1."MOTHER OF GOD"
Is Mary the VIRGIN mother of the HUMAN Jesus?
Is she the "mother of God"? No.
In order to be "mother of God" she would have had to exist PRIOR TO God. That would make Mary GREATER THAN God and Supreme Goddess.
God is Spirit (John 4:24). He is from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 90:2), hence, has NO MOTHER.
Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, did call Mary meter tou kurios mou "the mother of my Lord", but NOT meter tou Theos mou "the mother of my God" (Luke 1:43).
The title "mother of God" was officially bestowed on Mary by the religious hierarchy at the First Council of Ephesus in the 5th century A.D.
If you still want to call her "the mother of God" because of habit and because Jesus IS God, IT'S STILL WRONG TERMINOLOGY. However, I don't part fellowship with anyone over such semantics: just keep in mind that Jesus' Spirit HAS NO earthly MOTHER.
2. THE VIRGIN BIRTH
The doctrine that Jesus was born of the VIRGIN Mary is ABSOLUTELY TRUE and TOTALLY Scriptural (Luke 1:27, 34).
It's also ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL TO SALVATION (Hebrews 4:15).
3. THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
The doctrine that Mary herself was conceived WITHOUT original sin IS FALSE, HERETICAL, and TOTALLY UNBIBLICAL:
It was INVENTED by Pope Pius IX in 1854, based entirely on his own alleged "infallibility".
That means that NO ONE - Catholic or non-Catholic - believed it for the first 19 CENTURIES of Church history.
This false doctrine contradicts God and CONTRADICTS MARY HERSELF who pointedly stated that God is "her Savior" (Luke 1:47).
A person with NO ORIGINAL SIN would have NO NEED WHATSOEVER FOR "a Savior".
There's ONLY ONE HUMAN EVER CONCEIVED WITHOUT ORIGINAL SIN because the Blood that ran through His veins is God's own holy, untainted Blood, and His Name is Jesus (1 Peter 1:18-19).
4. MARY'S ASSUMPTION INTO HEAVEN
Did Mary have a private rapture?
Roman Catholic dogma teaches that the Virgin Mary "having completed the course of her earthly life, WAS ASSUMED BODY AND SOUL INTO HEAVENLY GLORY".
I've no problem with Mary or any other believer having a personal rapture: however there's nothing in the Bible, history, or even tradition, to suggest this is true.
This doctrine was INVENTED by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950 (a mere 63 years ago), again by exercising "papal infallibility".
We have in fact, not one but TWO tombs for Mary: one in Ephesus where she is said to have traveled with the Apostle John, and another in Jerusalem.
The latter, which BELONGED TO the Roman Catholic Church, was promptly sold to the Armenian Church in 1950 upon the Pope's aforementioned unilateral proclamation.
As you can see, so-called "papal infallibility" can both change old doctrine and invent new doctrine, at the drop of a hat.
5. MARY'S "PERPETUAL VIRGINITY"
While the VIRGINITY of Mary until the birth of Jesus is entirely and unequivocally biblical, the so-called "perpetual virginity" of Mary is NOT taught ANYWHERE in the ENTIRE BIBLE.
Since it's NOT in the Bible that means it was INVENTED BY MAN.
The problems with Mary being ALWAYS a virgin, to the day she died or ascended to heaven, are numerous:
A. Matthew 1:25 EXPLICITLY STATES that Joseph didn't "know" (have sex with) Mary UNTIL after she gave birth to Jesus.
That is crystal-clear.
B. After Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary had FOUR SONS AND AT LEAST TWO DAUGHTERS.
Their sons' names, according to the Gospels, were James, Joseph, Simon and Judas (Matthew 13:55-56; Mark 6:3; Galatians 1:19).
C. In John 7:2-10 His brothers are mentioned again, challenging Jesus to show Himself publicly at the upcoming Feast of Sukkot, since they (at the time) DID NOT believe in Him.
D. 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.
E. Galatians 1:19 clearly refers to James as "the brother of our Lord".
The Greek word USED in all of these passages is adelphon (singular), or adelphoi (plural) meaning ONLY "brother(s)".
F. Roman Catholic theology claims that Jesus' brothers were actually his COUSINS.
They claim that the Greek language doesn't have a word for "cousin" and thus used the word adelphos (brother).
That is TOTALLY FALSE.
The word adelphosis ALWAYS translated "brother", NEVER "cousin".
In Mark 13:55 and Matthew 12:46 Mary and Jesus' brothers were outside the house where Jesus was preaching and were calling Him.
Don't you find it A BIT ODD that Mary would habitually go around and hang around with Jesus' "cousins"?
Mary's own COUSIN, Elizabeth, was not called her adelphi, but rather her sungenis: Completely different word.
You can see the different Greek words for family and relatives in Luke 21:16 "you will be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends".
The Greek words are, respectively, goneon (parents), adelphon (brothers), SUNGENON (relatives, including cousins) and philon (friends).
Having said all that, if you still CHOOSE TO believe Mary is "perpetually" a virgin, knock yourself out.
What people believe or disbelieve about Mary's virginity AFTER she gave birth to Jesus is IRRELEVANT. It has NOTHING to do with Salvation.
Mary deserves OUR ETERNAL gratitude, love, respect, and honor, NOT OUR WORSHIP.
Fact is, WE WILL ALL BE "PERPETUAL SPIRITUAL VIRGINS" in the hereafter (Matthew 25:1-12; 2 Corinthians 11:2).
Mary is in heaven. If you (REGARDLESS OF RELIGION or lack thereof) want to be with her, you better follow her example by RECEIVING JESUS INTO YOUR HEART as Savior and God,and TRUSTING HIM ALONE for Salvation.
Have a "Mary" Christmas.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2013
There's much talk and debate about Mary and her role in Jesus' life and ministry, but we hear so little about Jesus' step dad, 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 look 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 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 is Spanish for "Joseph").
Joseph's contribution to the birth, well-being, 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 love and respect, "SAINT" Joseph.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2013
THE VIRGIN BIRTH
"Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, THE 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 by 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 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; 1 John 3:5).
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/is 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.
For those who argue that the Hebrew word in Isaiah 7:14 is ha alma, which can mean "the virgin" or simply "the young woman", 70 Hebrew scholars translated it into the Greek Septuagint as "ho parthenos"which ONLY MEANS "THE VIRGIN". If you want to argue with God and 70 Hebrew scholars, be my guest.
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 and give birth WITHOUT HAVING ANY sexual relations with a man.
They thereby 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.
As Gabriel put it: "With God, , 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.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2013
This fictional character associated with Christmas is known by different names in different cultures: Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas, and Father Christmas, among others.
It is based mostly on Saint Nicholas, a 4th century Christian Bishop in Turkey, known for his charitable gifts to the poor and needy.
Nicholas is usually portrayed with a long white beard. However, I'm not aware of any historic record that says he was fat or particularly jolly.
In the 15 centuries between his day and the present, some Scandinavian folklore has merged with the historic St. Nick turning him into the modern figure known as Santa, living in the North Pole, complete with red coat, red hat, sleigh and reindeer.
Also, a lot of the tradition associated with Santa coming down the chimney, seems to come from the 19th century poem "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, which is better known today as "The Night before Christmas".
Many of Santa's modern attributes are established in this poem, such as riding in a sleigh that lands on the roof, entering through the chimney, and having a bag full of toys.
St. Nick is described as being "chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf" with "a little round belly", that "shook when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly".
Even the supposed reindeer are given names in the poem: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder and Blixem.
Not sure where the tradition of children writing letters to Santa and asking him for specific presents originated.
Personally, I've nothing against Santa since he is based mostly on a Christian saint who devoted his life to Christ.
However, CHRIST-mas is NOT about Santa:
It's ABOUT JESUS.
If we're going to celebrate His Birth, then LET'S CELEBRATE HIS BIRTH.
Let's not get sidetracked with characters like Rudolph, Frosty or Santa.
I'm not one of those ultra-purists who get offended or bothered by these. There's even a dancing Santa that can be a lot of fun.
But the MAIN FEATURE in our decorations, and in our CELEBRATION, should be Jesus.
This holiday is ALL about Him.
Such FICTIONAL characters may be cute, but they're NOT THE REASON for the Season.
They don't even EXIST. (Some grown-ups needed to read this).
Let's keep our attention, love, gratitude and praise focused on Him WHO IS REAL and WHOSE BIRTH CHANGED THE WORLD.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2013
CHRISTMAS IN HEAVEN
"THE TEMPLE WAS PURIFIED on the twenty-fifth of Kislev (Hanukkah). The joyful celebration lasted for eight days. It was like Sukkot, for they recalled how only a short time before they had kept the festival while living like animals in the mountains, they observed the joyful celebration, which lasted for eight days.
And so THEY CARRIED LULAVIM (palm fronds) AND ETROGIM and they sang hymns to God, who had so triumphantly led them to the purification of the Temple" (2 Maccabees 10:5-7).
Jesus was NOT born on December 25.
Jesus was born during the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) which takes place sometime between September-October in the Gregorian calendar, depending on the year (John 1:14).
75 days later, on Hanukkah, the Feast of Lights, which in that particular year fell on December 25, is when the Wise Men found Him in a house in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:11).
The Wise Men were GENTILES, hence, December 25 is the date when GENTILES who found the Jewish Messiah celebrate His Birthday.
If I were a Messianic Jew, I'd celebrate it on Sukkot.
The actual day we celebrate His Birth is not as important as CELEBRATING HIS BIRTH.
Frankly, EVERY SINGLE DAY should be "Christmas" because if Jesus hadn't been born, there would be NO SAVIOR.
If there was NO SAVIOR, everyone on this planet, and the planet itself, would be doomed for eternity.
Well, what about Christmas trees, wreaths, ornaments, and Nativity Scenes?
Aren't THEY pagan?
That's what RELIGION would have us believe.
Trees, branches, and wreaths made of branches are decorations used during Sukkot, the day Jesus was actually born.
They are used AT GOD'S EXPRESS COMMAND (Leviticus 23:39-42).
If you want to argue with God about it, or call God's COMMAND "pagan", be my guest.
The so-called "stable" in Nativity Scenes is NOTHING BUT A SUKKA (hut) used during Sukkot.
Gentile believers simply took elements of Sukkot and applied them to Hanukkah the day the gentile Wise Men found Jesus, the Light of the world.
According to 2 Maccabees (quoted above), Jews HAD DONE THE VERY SAME THING LONG BEFORE gentiles came up with that idea:
They celebrated Sukkot during Hanukkah.
Just like Jews celebrated Hanukkah for 8 days (like Sukkot), we celebrate Christmas for 8 days from Christmas Eve (December 24) to New Years, January 1st.
So, spare me the sanctimonious B.S. about Christmas and Christmas decorations being "pagan".
There's NOTHING PAGAN ABOUT CELEBRATING JESUS.
Unless, of course, you think He's not God, nor Israel's Messiah.
If that's what you think, YOU'RE LOST.
In that case, whether you celebrate Jesus' Birth or not is irrelevant.
There's NOTHING WRONG WITH CELEBRATING JESUS... EVER!!!
Every godly person in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and even in ancient Persia, who had a heart after God, and sought His Salvation, rejoiced and celebrated Jesus' Birth (Matthew 2:2-11; Luke 2:8-20;25-38):
If you don't like Christmas, feel free to join the ranks of evil Herod, THE ONLY ONE WHO DIDN'T celebrate it (Matthew 2:16).
In fact, those who KNOW Jesus will be celebrating Him (glory to Him from eternity to eternity, worlds without end!) FOREVER!
Those who are "so holy" that they frown on everything from gifts, to ornaments, to trees, to eggnog to Santa (I'll write about him separately), won't like heaven:
Because it's ALWAYS Christmas there !
Replace the table with figures of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus and WHAT DO YOU HAVE?
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013
ENEMY OF ISRAEL, ENEMY OF GOD
"Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father's house, unto a land that I will show you:
2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 12:1-3).
"Then Jacob (Israel) said to Joseph, "God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and He said to me, 'Behold, I will make you fruitful and numerous, and I will make you a company of peoples, AND I WILL GIVE THIS LAND TO YOUR DESCENDANTS after you FOR AN EVERLASTING POSSESSION" (Genesis 48:3-4)
In recent days the world, including many Jews, has mourned the passing of civil rights leader Nelson Mandela.
We have a large audience in South Africa, and Mr. Mandela undoubtedly deserves a lot of credit for putting an end to hideous apartheid in that nation.
Ideologically and politically, however, he was a mixed bag:
For someone who advocated freedom and equality, he often aligned himself with oppressive regimes such as Iran's evil Ayatollah Khomeini, PLO's infamous Yasser Arafat, and Cuba's bloody dictator Fidel Castro.
Mr. Mandela, unfortunately, was also an enemy of Israel.
On more than one occasion he likened the Israeli-Palestinian situation to apartheid, which is utter nonsense.
He is also on record saying:
"We DO NOT regard the PLO as a terrorist organization" and referred to Arafat as "his brother" and "an outstanding freedom fighter".
In 1990, Mandela likened Israel to a "terrorist state" and declared that one might refer to the Israeli government as terrorist because "they are the people WHO ARE SLAUGHTERING DEFENSELESS AND INNOCENT Arabs in the occupied territories".
..."DEFENSELESS" and "INNOCENT" Arabs?
I don't know what medications Mandela was taking, but they must have made him delusional or, at the very least, clouded his judgment.
Israel isn't "slaughtering" anyone, and there's NOTHING "innocent" or "defenseless" about the terrorists that regularly wreak havoc and BLOW THEMSELVES UP out of sheer hatred, JUST SO they can kill or maim a number of innocent Jews in the process...
Just like there's NOTHING "innocent" or "defenseless" about the wicked bastards who fire rockets at Israel from OCCUPIED Gaza, at random, on an almost daily basis, often killing or maiming innocent civilians including children.
Fact: In 1999 Mandela, seated next to Arafat in Gaza, SUPPORTED the Palestinian use of violence saying that "IF THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE IS VIOLENCE, WE WILL USE VIOLENCE".
Emboldened by Mandela's endorsement of VIOLENCE, a few weeks later, Palestinian Arabs began the Second Intifada:
2,000 Jewish civilians have since been killed in multiple shootings, suicide attacks, and other acts of terror.
Doing ONE good thing does not make one right about everything.
It doesn't even make them "a good person".
Some may see Nelson Mandela as a symbol of "goodness" and, to be fair, he DID DO A LOT OF GOOD for many South Africans, but he has been a flagrant anti-Semite and terrorist enabler toward Israel's Jews.
That makes Mandela AN ENEMY OF GOD.
So, we won't be joining the chorus, including the present and two former U.S. Presidents, singing Mandela's praises.
NO ONE IS GOOD except God ALONE (Mark 10:18).
Those who oppose God and the people He CHOSE and has sovereignly brought back into the land He gave them IN EVERLASTING POSSESSION, AREN'T GOOD.
They're confused and THEY'RE LOST:
I don't care HOW MUCH THE WORLD praises them.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2013
IF WE WANT THE RAPTURE
If we want the Rapture, WE HAVE TO STOP postponing it to "the future".
The Rapture is PRESENT REALITY.
The Rapture is Jesus VISIBLY APPEARING TO US AND IN US.
Repeat: The Rapture is Jesus APPEARING VISIBLY TO EACH OF US and IN EACH OF US.
That's what He meant by being "caught up" INTO Him.
If Jesus must appear (manifest) IN EACH OF US, if we MUST SEE Him as He IS, in order to be LIKE HIM (1 John 3:2), then we have to seek Him WITH ALL OUR HEARTS, WHERE HE IS which is in the ETERNAL NOW.
Jesus is THE Truth. We cannot see THE Truth (Jesus) in THE lie.
If the so-called "past" and "future", if the whole notion of "time" is A LIE, we cannot SEE Jesus "as He is" in "time".
We must STEP OUTSIDE of "time" into the ETERNAL realm which is the ETERNAL now.
Well, what about when Jesus manifested PHYSICALLY on this earth in "time"?
Precious and totally wonderful as THAT manifestation of Him is, THERE'S A HIGHER manifestation of Him, which is the glorified Jesus.
In order to appear in space-time He had to humble Himself, TAKE OFF HIS GLORY, and become like one of us (Philippians 2:6-11).
The glorified Jesus is OUR TRUE Self.
We are individual FACETS OF His eternal, unspeakable PERFECTION and Wonderfulness.
He is and will always be INFINITELY GREATER than the sum of all His facets (us).
But we are Him and He is us.
Those who have theological "problems" with this Truth should take it up with God:
It was HIS DIVINE CHOICE to make us in His Image (Genesis 1:27).
It was HIS DIVINE CHOICE to PREDESTINE us to conform to His Image (Romans 8:29).
It was HIS DIVINE CHOICE to make us MANIFESTED SONS of God (in other words, Jesuses, Romans 8:19).
It was HIS DIVINE CHOICE to impart His OWN Righteousness to us (2 Corinthians 5:21).
It was HIS DIVINE CHOICE to make us partakers of His very OWN Divine Nature (1 Peter 1:4).
It was HIS DIVINE CHOICE to LIVE IN us (John 14:23; Ephesians 3:17).
It was HIS DIVINE CHOICE to rule and reign with us (Revelation 5:10).
It was HIS DIVINE CHOICE to SHARE HIS THRONE WITH us (Revelation 3:21).
It was HIS DIVINE CHOICE to CALL US "Gods" (Psalm 82:6).
If the Body of Christ wants the Rapture, we must COME FACE TO FACE WITH THE TRUTH.
We must ACCEPT WHO WE REALLY ARE: Jesus.
We came from God, hence ARE Gods, but WILL DIE AS MEN as long as we DON'T BELIEVE IT (Psalm 82:7).
Religion, even so-called Orthodox Christianity, MUST STOP CALLING "heresy" what God has told us ALL ALONG: that we are Gods, because we came from Him.
The REAL "heresy" is PERPETUATING SATAN'S LIE that we are NOT God.
He sold that lie to Eve 6,000 years ago.
Stop believing THE Lie. EMBRACE THE Truth, step into the timeless realm of Glory (ETERNAL NOW), and manifest the Glorious One.
Death is TOTALLY DEPENDENT ON "time".
When we step into THE ETERNAL NOW which is TIMELESS, there's no death, only immortality.
That IS the Rapture.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2013
ONE DAY AT A TIME
"Therefore, TAKE NO THOUGHT FOR TOMORROW: for tomorrow shall take thought of the things for itself. Sufficient unto THE DAY is the evil thereof" (Matthew 6:34).
Jesus' timeless advice simply cannot be improved.
Whatever your goal(s) are, whether it's to grow spiritually, see Jesus, be more conscious of His Presence in you, whether it's to prosper, get an education, improve a relationship, overcome an addiction, or lose weight, success can only be achieved ONE DAY at a time.
You cannot seek Jesus tomorrow, next week or next month. You can only do it TODAY.
Same goes for finding a job, starting or expanding a business, studying, loving and caring for someone, fasting, dieting, or staying sober.
DON'T WORRY or even THINK about tomorrow.
Whatever you need to do, DO IT TODAY!
If you go on a diet and think "gee, I gotta give up ice cream and pizza for a month", you won't even make it for one hour.
If you're alcoholic and you think "I can't have another drink for the rest of my life", I give you 5 minutes before you empty that bottle.
This creates a vicious cycle of failure and self-recrimination, which leads to more failure, more recrimination, and so on...
Do it JUST for TODAY.
When the next day arrives, then decide what to do JUST for TODAY.
And so forth.
MOMENT to MOMENT is THE ONLY WAY to achieve success in ANY endeavor.
Well, what about big corporations, don't they plan ahead and set both short-term and long-term goals?
Corporations may set goals for the "future", but THE IMPLEMENTATION of the strategy to reach those goals ALWAYS TAKES PLACE TODAY, IN THE NOW.
Besides, a corporation is AN ARTIFICIAL entity that cannot think or decide for itself.
Nor can a corporation experience Christ and be saved.
You're not a corporation. You're A REAL PERSON, created in the Image of God, with God-given FREE WILL.
You KNOW Jesus. You HAVE Jesus.
And Jesus IS ALWAYS NOW.
He's not in the "past" and He's not in the "future". He is ETERNAL NOW.
ALL FAILURE, without exception, since Eden to today, is caused by FEAR of the "future".
God is love. Love (God) is NOW, and love NEVER FAILS.
Your FOCUS (complete attention) needs to be on THE NOW.
Success and victory do not depend on following the advice of some Hindu or Christian guru, attending their seminars, listening to their tapes, or sending money to some religious scam artist so he can get rich, get a fleet or private airplanes, and live better than the Sultan of Brunei at your expense.
It's putting Jesus FIRST in your life. It's keeping your thoughts and heart PURE: focused on Him not on "things" or even on certain "people".
It's humbling yourself before your Creator, seeking His Kingdom within you FIRST, and following Jesus' advice, WHICH IS TO LIVE JUST FOR TODAY, ONE MOMENT at a time.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2013
THE POWER OF NOW
Jesus is ETERNAL NOW.
NOW always IS.
He is that HE IS (Exodus 3:14).
NOW (eternal PRESENT) is ULTIMATE REALITY.
He/it is THE ONLY TRUTH there is (John 14:6).
Salvation IS ETERNAL because it's always NOW (2 Corinthians 6:2):
When our mind "projects" to the "future" which IS NOT REAL... WE FAIL.
The "future" ("tomorrow") DOESN'T EXIST.
Well, what about prophecy? Isn't that future?
From a human perspective of space-time: yes.
From God's perspective, the answer is "no".
There's no such thing as "the future".
For God ALL PROPHECY, including the Rapture, Second Coming and Millennium is NOW.
That's why IT IS WRITTEN.
That's why we have "a MORE SURE Word of prophecy" (2 Peter 1:19).
It's PRESENT reality.
These things HAVE ALREADY TAKEN PLACE and are ETERNAL REALITY from His point of view.
They remain "future" only to our flawed, natural human understanding.
FAILURE = thinking about "tomorrow".
DEFEAT = thinking about "tomorrow".
FEAR = thinking about "tomorrow".
That's the main problem with ALL RELIGION: it fosters FEAR about God's FUTURE "punishment" for sin, when THE TRUTH IS that ALL SIN IS FORGIVEN, NOW.
By virtue of Jesus' Eternal, Perfect Sacrifice, ALL SIN HAS BEEN REMOVED FOR ALL "TIME", (John 1:29; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Hebrews 9:25: 1 John 3:5).
If ALL sin has been removed for ALL time (glory to Jesus forever!), then THERE IS NO PUNISHMENT FOR sin.
Pause: take a long, deep breath. And THINK ABOUT THAT.
The only punishment is for those who DO NOT TRUST Jesus NOW, hence DO NOT RECEIVE HIM, but FEAR what He'll do to them in "the future".
That's why most people ARE TERRIFIED to face God.
That's THE ONLY REASON for so-called atheists.
There is NOW NO CONDEMNATION to those who ARE (present) IN Christ Jesus (ETERNAL PRESENT).
Condemnation is what causes us to fail in any endeavor. It's the conscious or subconscious fear that our sin ISN'T forgiven hence must be punished by "future" failing.
Thinking about tomorrow also makes you feel "cheated".
That's what happened to Eve.
She was deceived into THINKING that God had KEPT SOMETHING desirable from her, when IN FACT He had given her EVERYTHING, including Himself.
She ALREADY WAS like God.
If you can get a manifestation of God (Eve) to believe she is NOT like God... you create chaos.
If you can get that manifestation of God to believe he or she IS NOT PERFECT AND COMPLETE NOW (God), LACKING NOTHING, you got ‘em where you want ‘em.
That's what Satan did.
That's HOW he creates CHAOS IN YOUR LIFE.
He dangles the proverbial "carrot" in front of you, as something that "you don't have', when YOU ALREADY HAVE IT.
By putting it off to "the future" he makes sure YOU NEVER GET IT.
Likewise, those who live chained to "the past" (ANOTHER LIE) can NEVER MOVE FORWARD or attain ANYTHING.
Those who live "in the past" hashing and rehashing old wounds, "so-and-so did this to me", "coulda, woulda, shouda", or focusing on the devil's ACCUSATIONS that "you did this" or "you did that", are doomed to failure.
The "PAST" DOESN'T EXIST, either.
If ANY person is in Christ, he/she is A NEW CREATION: OLD THINGS are passed away: Look, ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW (2 Corinthians 5:17).
If you're in Christ, God DOESN'T REMEMBER YOUR PAST. He DOESN'T REMEMBER OR EVEN COUNT your sins (Hebrews 8:12).
Stay IN THE NOW!
EVERYTHING you want or need is IN THE NOW.
You'll NEVER get it "then".
Victory is ALWAYS NOW.
Jesus is ALWAYS NOW.
NOW faith IS!
ANNOUNCEMENT: Today (God willing) we embark on a series of messages that will give you "the secret" to OVERCOMING, to success, to reaching your goals, and getting things done. These messages aren't intended to simply inspire but to be applied and become A WAY OF LIFE. If you're looking for ANSWERS, Jesus HAS THEM. You don't want to miss the next 3-4 messages.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2013
TOMORROW IS A LIE
There's NO SUCH THING AS "tomorrow".
The notion of "tomorrow" was INVENTED by the father of lies, Satan (John 8:44).
The FALSE notion of "tomorrow" led to sin and to the downfall of mankind.
It got Adam and Eve evicted from Eden. It brought the entire planet, including the animal kingdom, into the decadent state in which it finds itself today.
Satan tricked and deceived Eve (the mother of all living) by offering her "tomorrow" (Genesis 3:4-5):
"If you eat of that fruit that God specifically forbade, you WILL BE (TOMORROW) as God":
The great irony is that THEY ALREADY WERE "as God" TODAY!
Pause, re-read the last two paragraphs SLOWLY, and MEDITATE on that for a moment.
Didn't God make man, male and female, IN HIS OWN IMAGE AND LIKENESS? (Genesis 1:27).
Didn't He give them DOMINION OVER EVERYTHING? (Genesis 1:26, 28)
Didn't He create man just A LITTLE below Himself? (Psalm 8:5).
Didn't God walk with them in the Garden and commune with them, PERSONALLY, as One Divine Being to another? (Genesis 3:8)
WHAT ELSE could God give them that they didn't ALREADY have?
TODAY they HAD IT ALL.
They LOST IT for THINKING about "tomorrow".
They LOST IT for BELIEVING IN "tomorrow".
Tomorrow is pure fantasy.
By the "time" "tomorrow" arrives, IT'S TODAY!!!
It's NEVER "tomorrow".
Tomorrow is A LIE.
That's why God can ONLY be found TODAY, NOT "tomorrow".
That's why THE ONLY TIME to receive Christ, TOTAL FORGIVENESS OF SIN, and 100% SURE Salvation, is RIGHT NOW.
That's why SUCCESS in ANY endeavor is NOW.
NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW...
Whatever else you get from today's message, GET THIS:
There's NO TOMORROW.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2013
"When they therefore were come together, they asked him, saying: Lord, WILL YOU AT THIS TIME RESTORE AGAIN THE KINGDOM TO Israel?
And he said unto them: It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power.
But you shall receive power, after the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
And when he had spoken these things, WHILE THEY BEHELD, HE WAS TAKEN UP; AND A CLOUD RECEIVED HIM OUT OF THEIR SIGHT.
And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Who also said: You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? THIS SAME JESUS, WHO IS TAKEN UP FROM YOU INTO HEAVEN, SHALL SO COME IN LIKE MANNER AS YOU HAVE SEEN HIM GO INTO HEAVEN" (Acts 1:6-11).
After the Resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples on numerous occasions and spoke to them for 40 days about the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).
Then they asked Him if He would RESTORE the Kingdom to Israel AT THAT TIME (1st century A.D.).
Although Jesus replied that it was not for them to know (AT THAT TIME), IT IS FOR US TO KNOW some two millennia later.
With the benefit of hindsight we now know that the answer to their question was "NO", since He didn't restore the Kingdom to Israel in the 1st century, or in the 19 plus centuries that have come and gone since then.
What did the disciples' mean by their question?
The Kingdom of God began with Adam, and was abruptly interrupted by Satan's interference which led to sin and expulsion from Eden.
They, however, were asking about restoring the Kingdom to Israel.
The Kingdom in Israel began with Saul, followed by David, followed by Solomon, followed by his son Rehoboam, during whose rule the Kingdom was SPLIT into the 10 Northern tribes and the Southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
In 721 B.C. the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom and took the 10 tribes captives. Only God knows their whereabouts today.
In 586 B.C. the Babylonians conquered the southern kingdom and took the Jews and and Benjamites captive.
Instead of being "lost" to the world, they returned 70 years later, as God explicitly promised.
The disciples understood that the risen Jesus would, at some point, restore all 12 tribes and the Kingdom to Israel, since He would be their King, as well as King over the whole earth (Zechariah 14:2-9).
His Kingdom on earth a/k/a the Millennium will begin right after His Second Coming.
That's what Jesus referred to when He told Jews that "you will be hated BY ALL NATIONS (gentiles, same word) FOR MY NAME'S SAKE" (Matthew 24:9).
Those who remain on earth during the tribulation will be unbelievers.
They will SEE Jesus appearing in the clouds to take His Church home (rapture us).
Once they realize what's happened, they will KNOW that He will return 3½ years later to establish His Millennial Kingdom on earth.
They DON'T WANT Jesus as king.
Hence, they will pledge their allegiance to the Antichrist believing that he can PREVENT Jesus' Second Coming, and His Kingdom on earth.
Every Jew hater, every gentile, believer or unbeliever, should know this:
Like it or not, JESUS WILL RULE THIS WORLD.
Like it or not A JEW will rule the world.
His Kingdom is ETERNAL.
He CANNOT BE toppled.
He will rule OVER YOU, if you're lucky enough to be alive during that wonderful era.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2013
FAITH IS SURE
"Now faith is THE ASSURANCE OF things hoped for, THE PROOF OF things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).
Every time someone tells me that "we have to DO THIS" or "we have to DO THAT" in order to be saved, I KNOW, beyond doubt, that individual is NOT saved.
Every time they tell me Salvation is an unholy MIXTURE of "faith plus works"... (Romans 11:6)
Every time someone tells me that "we will know" in the end who is really saved and who isn't, who are God's people and who aren't. I KNOW, beyond doubt, that person IS NOT SAVED.
HOW do I know?
Because faith, as we read above IS SURE: it's 100% CERTAIN.
And because, as the verse also states, faith is ALWAYS NOW: not future, BUT PRESENT.
Faith and Salvation are ETERNAL PRESENT.
Faith means TOTAL TRUST.
If you're NOT SURE NOW, you CAN'T be sure "THEN".
If you're NOT SURE NOW, if you have TO WAIT until a certain "time" to find out if you're really saved, YOU'RE NOT SAVED.
Every time they tell me it's NECESSARY to observe the Torah, be circumcised, follow dietary laws, observe the 10 Commandments, the weekly Sabbath, of belong to a certain religious group, I KNOW, beyond doubt, those people AREN'T SAVED.
ALL they got is DEAD religion.
Those who TRUST (have faith in) THEIR WORKS, instead of TRUSTING JESUS COMPLETELY, CAN NEVER BE SURE OF Salvation.
Salvation is INVISIBLE.
How do you know you've done "enough" good works to be saved?
Everyone's broken the Torah COUNTLESS times, no matter how much they TRY to "keep it".
If you're trusting Torah observance, YOU CANNOT BE SURE, because (intentionally or unintentionally) you've broken Torah many, many times as have I (1 John 1:8).
That's why Jesus fulfilled the Torah and accomplished FULL SALVATION FOR US, leaving NOTHING, ZERO, for us to "do" (Matthew 5:17).
That's why BY ONE SACRIFICE (that Sacrifice being Himself) HE HAS PERFECTED FOREVER those who are sanctified (Hebrews 10:14).
That's why God was in Christ RECONCILING THE WORLD TO HIMSELF, NOT COUNTING PEOPLE'S SINS AGAINST THEM (2 Corinthians 5:19).
If He's NOT counting our sins, WHY SHOULD WE?
That's why Salvation is ENTIRELY BY FAITH (TRUST) on the perfect, complete and marvelous Work of Redemption that Jesus DID.
That's why Salvation is based entirely on WHAT HE DID, NOT on what "we" do.
That's why Jesus - and Jesus ALONE - is able to save TO THE UTTERMOST those who come to God through Him (Hebrews 7:25).
Glory to His Name forever!
If you TRUST JESUS COMPLETELY, you ARE SURE of Salvation and ETERNALLY SAVED.
If you're NOT SURE, you're lost.
And, UNLESS you repent, trust Jesus COMPLETELY and BECOME SURE, you CANNOT BE saved.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2013
WHAT'S KEEPING YOU?
What's keeping YOU from God?
Oh, I know you can give a hundred different "excuses", but you're wrong:
THERE'S ONLY ONE THING THAT'S KEEPING YOU FROM Him, AND IT'S CALLED "FEAR".
FEAR that you're "too evil" for Him to accept you when, in fact, He ALREADY HAS accepted you!
FEAR that He'll be angry at you for what you've done, when in fact, He's not even counting your sins (2 Corinthians 5:19).
FEAR that you've sinned too much for Him to love you, when in fact...
HE LOVES YOU... UNCONDITIONALLY! (John 6:37; Romans 5:8)
FEAR that He can't forgive your sins because they're so bad, and SO MANY, when in fact,
He DOESN'T EVEN REMEMBER THEM! (Hebrews 8:12)
FEAR that if you COME TO HIM "as you are", you'll fall short and He won't accept you when, in fact, HE'S WAITING, WITH OPEN ARMS, TO WELCOME YOU (Revelation 22:17).
FEAR that if you receive Jesus into your heart, you'll have to change your lifestyle and it will be dull and boring when, in fact, there's NOTHING (NO THING !!!) more exciting that EXPERIENCING Him.
FEAR that you'll lose your friends and relationships, when there's NO BETTER FRIEND, OR BETTER RELATIONSHIP ANYWHERE (Proverbs 18:24).
FEAR you'll be dissatisfied, when in fact, REAL SATISFACTION (Mick Jagger, eat your heart out!) is found ONLY in Him.
FEAR that if you receive Jesus, you'll have to look a certain way or act a certain way.
NO, YOU CAN BE YOURSELF. LOOK THE WAY YOU WANT, DRESS THE WAY YOU WANT, ACT THE WAY YOU WANT.
How you look OUTSIDE, has NOTHING to do with whom you are INSIDE.
(Whatever you do, don't try to look like one of them phony "Christian" celebrities, PLEASE)
FEAR that YOU'LL HAVE TO BE RELIGIOUS.
NO, NO, NO!
Religion itself is ALWAYS FEAR BASED.
Religion IS WHAT MADE YOU FEARFUL in the first place.
Religion KEEPS people FROM Jesus.
Religion has NOTHING to do with Salvation.
Salvation is a Person. His Name is Jesus.
It's quite the opposite. You want to STAY AS FAR AWAY FROM RELIGION (EVEN THE SO-CALLED "CHRISTIAN" RELIGION) as you possibly can!
Most people are terrified to face God. They don't even want to talk about Him, and try to sweep Him under the rug.
But EVERYONE will face Him sooner or later.
FEAR IS ALL IN YOUR HEAD.
You have NO REASON to fear.
Jesus loves you and He'll receive you JUST AS YOU ARE:
"ALL THOSE the Father gives me WILL COME TO ME, and WHOEVER COMES TO ME I WILL NEVER reject" (John 6:37).
So, now that we've exposed THE REAL REASON, and proved it has no merit, only one question remains:
What's keeping YOU from Jesus?
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2013
CHEATING ON JESUS
Who, me??? I would NEVER cheat on Jesus!!!
Well, let's find out...
There are several ways to cheat on Jesus:
1. By placing religion - ANY religion, I don't care WHAT it's called - before Christ.
2. By placing and TRUSTING any man-invented INSTITUTION or denomination above Jesus.
3. By placing OPINIONS, including our own, above God's Word.
4. By spending MORE TIME in trivial pursuits (including religious gossip, spreading rumors and entertainment) than communing intimately with Jesus.
5. By placing ANY MORTAL and what he/she says ABOVE what JESUS SAYS.
6. By listening to every Tom, Dick and Harry, INSTEAD OF seeking Truth DIRECTLY from His Holy Spirit and His Holy Word.
7. By NOT making Jesus NUMBER ONE in your heart and life... ALL THE TIME.
Anything or anyone that occupies FIRST PLACE in our minds or hearts, OTHER THAN Jesus Himself, is AN IDOL.
Cheating on Jesus is IDOLATRY.
It's having OTHER "gods" BEFORE HIM.
We are to LOVE Jesus (the Lord, our God) WITH ALL OUR HEART, SOUL, STRENGTH, and MIND (Luke 10:27).
When we do that, when we seek Him FIRST, when we seek His Kingdom WITHIN US FIRST, all the other stuff (and EVERYTHING ELSE IS STUFF) lines up and falls into place AUTOMATICALLY (Matthew 6:33).
There is NO GREATER, or most urgent, PRIORITY.
When we cheat on Jesus, we CHEAT OURSELVES out of many blessings:
...Including the unspeakable thrill and delight of being in His Presence.
SPECIAL APPRECIATION: to F. Paul Peterson, for making this important information available to seekers of Truth and to the public in general: http://www.aloha.net/~mikesch/peters-jerusalem-tomb.htm
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2013
NO BONES ABOUT IT
A handful of bones (eight tiny fragments, to be exact) were recently displayed by the Vatican, purportedly belonging to St. Peter whom they consider "the first Pope" (picture below).
It's a long held Catholic tradition that Peter went to Rome, became Bishop of Rome, died there, and that his remains lie beneath the basilica named after him.
Pope Francis prayed before the fragments, swung an incense censer in their direction a couple times, as is customary with such relics, and then clutched the bronze case in his arms for several minutes.
Since I was brought up in TRADITIONAL Roman Catholicism, I like Pope Francis and wish him well. He's shown great humility, charisma, and has been in many ways a breath of fresh air in a stuffy, old religious institution steeped in tradition.
There are, however, A NUMBER OF BIG problems with THIS particular tradition:
1. There is ZERO BIBLICAL evidence that Peter was EVER in Rome.
2. There is ZERO HISTORIC evidence outside Roman Catholicism that Peter was EVER in Rome.
3. There is ZERO ARCHAEOLOGICAL evidence that Peter was EVER in Rome.
4. There is COMPELLING archaeological evidence that Peter IS NOT buried in Rome, but in Jerusalem.
5. This tradition CANNOT BE TRUE, since it flat-out CONTRADICTS Scripture.
While there's ample biblical and historic evidence that Paul went to Rome, lived and preached in Rome for several years, and was martyred there, we have NO SUCH EVIDENCE with regards to Peter.
It is established fact that the Vatican and Saint Peter's Basilica are built atop a large, ancient necropolis (pagan cemetery).
Vatican claims that these are "Peter's bones" are flimsily based on DNA tests that prove the bone fragments belong to a man in his 60's whose height was about 5'7".
Give me a break: half the population of Rome would fit that description.
If similar tests were conducted ON OTHER bone fragments from that same necropolis, I'm sure we would come up with many others who were buried there, who were also males in their 60's and about that same height.
That claim, therefore, is baseless and ridiculous.
Scripture doesn't tell us how tall Peter was, or precisely how old he was.
No reputable archaeologist, or historian, believes those are really Peter's bones.
Matter of fact, just last week top Vatican official, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, said:
"It almost doesn't matter IF ARCHAEOLOGISTS ONE DAY DEFINITIVELY DETERMINE THAT THE BONES AREN'T Peter's".
He added that Christians have prayed at "Peter's tomb" for two millennia (actually, more like 1,500 years) and will continue to do so,REGARDLESS.
If we read between the lines, what the Archbishop was saying is that, EVEN IF SCIENCE TOTALLY DEBUNKS their claim, there will be A LOT OF DUMB Catholics who still believe they're Peter's bones simply because "the Vatican says so".
But it gets worse:
The ACTUAL remains of Saint Peter were found in 1955 in an ossuary inside a cave beneath the Dominus Flevit monastery on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem (photographs below).
The ossuary has the Aramaic inscription "Simon Bar Jonah", THE VERY NAME that Jesus called Peter in Matthew 16:17.
In the same cave were also found the ossuaries for Lazarus (Jesus' close friend whom He raised from the dead), and his sisters Mary and Martha (John 11:1-3).
The cave and ossuary have been proven to date back to the first century A.D.,the very time that Jesus, Peter, Lazarus, Mary and Martha walked the earth.
The location fits the biblical account perfectly, since Lazarus lived in nearby Bethany, not far from this place.
Also, because the Mount of Olives is where Jesus often hung out with the disciples and where, according to Zechariah 14:4, His Second Coming will take place (Matthew 24:3; Mark 13:3; Luke 22:39; John 8:1).
Jerusalem's population in the first century was only about 50,000.
In a city THAT SMALL NO ONE BUT PETER would be named "Simon bar Jonah".
When you add into the mix the fact he was buried on the Mount of Olives along with his friends, Lazarus, Mary and Martha in whose home Jesus, Peter and the other disciples often lodged, it makes it virtually impossible for it to be ANYONE ELSE.
Peter's REAL remains were NOT FOUND BY Jews or by "Protestants" but by two Roman Catholic Franciscan priests, fathers P. B. Bagatti (who also happens to be a highly regarded archaeologist) and J. T. Milik.
They even wrote a book (picture below) explaining and documenting their find.
Father Bagatti notified then Pope Pius XII of their discovery shortly thereafter (58 YEARS AGO).
Pope Pius reportedly replied:
‘Well, we will have to make some changes, but for the time being, keep this thing quiet'.
Indeed, they have "kept this thing quiet" EVER SINCE.
In over half a century, the Vatican hasn't uttered A WORD about such monumental AND CONSEQUENTIAL discovery.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out WHY...
Peter MUST HAVE died in Jerusalem, since there is DEFINITIVE SCRIPTURAL EVIDENCE that Peter was never in Rome but preached to Jews in and around Israel:
Galatians 2:8 flat-out tells us:
"For God, who was at work in Peter AS AN APOSTLE TO THE CIRCUMCISED (Jews), was also at work in me (Paul) as an apostle to the Gentiles".
If God commissioned Peter to minister TO JEWS (the circumcised), WHAT ON EARTH would Peter be doing in Rome ministering mainly to UNCIRCUMCISED PAGANS?
Had Peter gone to Rome and become "bishop of Rome" as Catholic tradition claims, he would have TOTALLY DISOBEYED JESUS and would hardly be worthy of the title "apostle", let alone be any sort of "rock foundation" for ANY Christian organization.
Furthermore, in John 21:15-16 we have Jesus' DIRECT COMMAND TO PETER to "feed His sheep".
Who were "Jesus' sheep" at the time Jesus gave that command?
They were Jews, AND ONLY Jews.
Jesus Himself said "I was sent ONLY TO the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew 15:24).
Jesus would not have ANY (not even ONE) gentile "sheep" until some 15 YEARS LATER (Acts 10:44-46).
If Jesus COMMANDED Peter to "feed His sheep" and His sheep were ALL JEWS, WHY ON EARTH would Peter DISOBEY JESUS' EXPRESS ORDERS, ABANDON his fellow Jews which Jesus had committed to his spiritual care, and go off to distant Rome, some 2,308 kilometers (1,435 miles) away, to preach to PAGANS?
Why would Peter even BE NEEDED in Rome when they ALREADY HAD PAUL?
And if Christ's Church was (purportedly) built upon Peter, WHY would he establish Christ's Church in Rome, among pagans, WHEN JESUS HIMSELF had ALREADY founded His UNIVERSAL Church IN JERUSALEM, and all its members (including Jesus' own mother, Mary) WERE JEWS? (Acts 2:1-5).
Peter himself addresses his epistle SPECIFICALLY to Jews:
"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's CHOSEN PEOPLE, EXILES SCATTERED (IN THE DIASPORA) THROUGHOUT the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia"... (1 Peter 1:1)
The fallacy that Peter was "the first Pope" and that Christ's "true Church" is founded on Peter, rather than ON JESUS HIMSELF, is one of the worst and most deceitful hoaxes ever perpetrated on mankind.
It simply doesn't hold water. Nor does it stand the test of unbiased history or archeology.
Moreover, as I've just proven, it's TOTALLY UNSCRIPTURAL.
Brothers and sisters, Peter himself gave us the preeminent axiom:
"We MUST OBEY GOD RATHER THAN men" (Acts 5:29).
We must ALWAYS believe WHAT GOD SAYS OVER AND ABOVE the claims of mortal men and man-invented religion.
NO "BONES" ABOUT IT.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2013
RELIGION IS DULL
One of the worst things that ever happened to the Christian faith is that men turned it into organized religion.
Religion robbed Christianity of its flavor.
It clobbered believers with all kinds of technicalities, making them afraid to do this, or NOT to do that.
Religion pretends to glorify God, but it doesn't. It glorifies itself.
Religion is IDOLATRY. Idolatry is always based on fear.
Religion promotes fear and DOESN'T PROMOTE faith.
Fear turns free people into boring, insipid, introverted dullards.
Religion is A TOOL OF SATAN.
It puts people in bondage. It turned the most dynamic spiritual movement in history, into mindless squadrons of ineffective drones.
It substituted the excitement of one -on-one communication and spiritual intimacy with the living Jesus, with a BORING, endless set of rules and regulations.
We're supposed to be servants of Christ, not some man-invented "do's" and "don'ts"!
We're to put our unique gifts and talents unconditionally at His service, instead of being turned into a bunch of look-alike, talk-alike, act-alike clones.
Before organized religion came along, Christianity was so powerful, that it turned the entire world of its day upside down.
Without so much as lifting up a sword or throwing a spear, by the sheer power of God's Spirit and God's Word, the Christian faith swallowed up the mightiest, most ruthless, most efficient, political and military war machine in human history, namely the Roman Empire.
Then organized religion came along, and all it was capable of producing, along with some nice cathedrals, was the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the counter-Reformation. Enough said.
Religion is DULL. Jesus is EXCITING.
God is sick of religion. It LITERALLY NAUSEATES HIM (Revelation 3:15-16).
If you got religion, drop it. Get Jesus instead.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2014
THE GREAT WHORE
The Great Whore of Revelation chapters 17 and 18 may be the city of Rome, but her twin sister is sitting in Orange County, California.
She is a serial fornicator who has snared many unsuspecting souls into her wantonness and greed.
Whereas her sister sits on "many waters", she sits on MANY AIRWAVES.
Like her infamous sibling, she is ostentatiously decked in linen, purple, scarlet, gold, precious stones, and pearls; not to mention wigs, eyelashes and more layers of theatrical makeup than Bozo.
Like her adulterous twin, she DOESN'T PRAY but PREYS on the souls of men.
Like her harlot sister, SHE HAS MADE MERCHANDISE OF HER RELIGIOUS WARES, and TRAFFICS IN gold, silver, precious stones, pearls, linen, purple, silk, scarlet, wood, brass, iron, marble, ointments, frankincense, wine, oil, flour, wheat, cattle, chariots, slaves, favors, BOOKS, CD'S , DVD'S, TRINKETS - ANYTHING ELSE YOU CAN THINK OF, and SOULS OF MEN.
Both "sisters" are lairs of THIEVES.
In case you haven't figured it out, I'm referring to the "world's largest" Kristian network based in Santa Ana, California.
Through the years, I have watched with great sadness its gradual, and now total, deterioration.
From a fledgling ministry in the 70's where you could hardly get the "snowy" TV signal, to a thriving network in the 80's and 90's (back then cable TV was in its infancy), that went from preaching the Gospel and ACTUALLY WINNING SOULS, to promoting a perverted gospel of greed, to outright corruption, manipulation, and abuse of power.
TBN has given us one king (and I don't mean Jesus) one pink-wigged drag queen, and countless self-declared "bishops", "apostles", "elders" and "life coaches", but NO PAWNS. Too bad, otherwise we could add a couple of rooks and knights and we'd have ourselves a nice chess game.
It has given us such dubious Kristian "celebrities" as:
- Master showman and king of the fake healers Benny Hinn.
- Habitual fornicator and child molester, who fathered a son with his own brother's wife, then passed him off as "his nephew", the late Earl Paulk.
- "Prophet" Kim Clement, who predicted in 1996 that "within two years" the Islamic world would be brought to its knees:
What we did get from the Islamic world, not two but 5 years later, was 9/11.
- "Prophetess" Juanita Bynum complete with TELEVISED MILLION DOLLAR SHAM WEDDING that ended shortly after in divorce and allegations of spousal battery.
(Apparently her "prophetic gift" wasn't working when she chose a husband).
- Serial seducer of teenage boys, Eddie Long, who actually was "enthroned" and given a "coronation" for such behavior.
- Creflo Dollar, recently arrested for allegedly choking his teenage daughter.
- T.D. Jakes, who so "preaches the gospel" that he recently teamed up with Hindu guru Deepak Chopra, for several "motivational" seminars...
- Paula White was praised and referred to as "our princess Diana" on TBN for divorcing her husband, without any explanation, then scurried off to Rome for a quickie with Hinn (Eeeeew!) until the National Enquirer caught them coming out of the hotel together.
And that's just off the top of my head.
It has gone from Evangelical to heretical. It went from promoting the Godhead, to the point it named itself "Trinity", to casting doubt on the very Deity of Jesus.
It went from exposing false religion and heresy to espousing it.
In a matter of 40 years it evolved from D. James Kennedy to Steve Munsey, and from C.M. Ward to (horror of horrors) Mormon Glenn Beck.
If you think the power struggle at Crystal Cathedral which resulted in its demise was ugly - and it was - it pales by comparison.
In the "lust for power" department the Schullers got NOTHING on the Crouches:
Audiences bilked in every DISHONEST and imaginable way to support extravagant spending and opulent lifestyles, sibling rivalry, struggle for power, families divided and suing their own flesh and blood, suits and countersuits galore, homosexuality, cover ups, hush money, rape of minors, and misuse of funds, and by "funds" I mean the $20, $10 and $5 donations that YOU sacrificially gave.
It all came to a head when the network's patriarch went into the hospital to be treated for a heart condition and, on what was thought to be his "death bed", wrote a will where - in a prodigious pink-wigged maneuver worthy of Rebecca procuring the birthright for Jacob, instead of Esau, the younger and MORE STUPID son WAS GIVEN greater powers than the older.
The younger son, who - were it not for his famous (or infamous) parents would be standing at the unemployment line - is now "head" of the network.
The new "head" couldn't even make his own "production company" profitable, even though it was TOTALLY FUNDED BY YOU through his parents who provided the capital (in excess of $50 million) from your generous donations.
The only original idea he's ever come up with is preaching a "covert" (subliminal) gospel, whatever the hell that means.
Thank God there was NOTHING "covert" about the apostles or Early Church. Had they not been TOTALLY OVERT in their preaching, even under constant death threats, you and I would not be saved.
He reportedly buys luxury cars as often as some people change their underwear. And, every time he does, the wife automatically gets a new car, too.
All courtesy of your sacrificial giving, dumb Christians.
Gee, I hope some you HAVE REALLY GOTTEN RICH by supporting the Whore, as SHE'S BEEN PROMISING you for the past 40 years...
What on earth made the pink wigged wonder think that her favorite younger son is even remotely qualified to lead the religious beast, which is far bigger and more complex than his "production company", beats the heck out of me.
But then, again, INTELLIGENCE and REASON have never been the pink wig's strong suit.
In the aftermath, the older son, who, though I'm not a fan, has a better head overall, and decidedly a better mind for business than the younger, quit the network last fall and is said to have taken a job with an internet Christian network.
He's the only one in the clan who, thus far, is keeping a low profile.
Meanwhile the lawsuits and accusations keep flying.
The Whore's founders are being sued by two of their granddaughters for alleged fraud and unlawful use of funds, and for alleged rape during one of their Beg-a-thons when she was only 13 years old.
To top it all off, yesterday, November 30, 2013, Founder Paul Crouch Sr. passed away.
His passing is sad for several reasons:
For one thing, whatever else he may have been, he was a good administrator and astute businessman, something that cannot be said about anyone else in that family.
For another, even though he sold out to materialism and the gospel of greed, I do believe that in his heart of hearts he cared about the true Gospel and bringing souls to Jesus. If you think programming's been lousy, unbiblical, self-serving and compromising, Lord knows the further deterioration that lies ahead now that his voice has been silenced.
But saddest of all is WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN.
To have such resources, such powerful, influential medium and waste so much of it on religious fluff and the "prosperity gospel" instead of building spiritually strong men and women of God.
To have such powerful evangelistic tool and waste it on preaching about money, money, money and more money... and preaching to the choir, when it could have been about souls, souls, souls and more souls.
TBN went from non-profit Christian network to FOR PROFIT BUSINESS ENTERPRISE targeting dumb Christians to both donate and buy stuff from them, and never looked back.
And now that its Founder is gone, its future seems rather bleak.
We MUST BE living in the "time of the end".
The Great Whore is fallen, is fallen...
...And the religious merchants she promoted (Revelation 18:11) "shall weep and mourn over her, because NO MAN BUYS THEIR MERCHANDISE ANY MORE".
ANNOUNCEMENT: By now most of you have heard of the death of TBN founder Paul Crouch, Sr. I will be commenting on it (Lord willing) in tomorrow's message. Please pray for the Crouch family, that God will comfort, heal and grant repentance. That TBN will go back to preaching the true Gospel of Salvation at it did in the VERY beginning, instead of the gospel of greed that it's preached for the past three decades. Thank you.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2013
A LITTLE JESUS
People have as much Jesus AS THEY WANT.
Repeat: People have as much, or as little, Jesus as THEY WANT.
Jesus will never force His way into a person's heart.
By the same token, He won't fill that person with MORE OF HIMSELF than they want and are ready to receive.
Unfortunately, believers for the most part are satisfied with "a little" Jesus.
We don't see very many Christians LONGING FOR deeper, more intimate communion with our Living Savior.
We don't see very many SEEKING Him and His beautiful Face with ALL their hearts.
For the most part, we want just "a little Jesus".
Just give us enough Jesus TO AVOID GOING TO HELL.
Just give us enough Jesus so we'll go in the Rapture and miss the tribulation.
Let's give Jesus just enough room in our lives, just enough time and attention, to get us into heaven.
Or to get us through some difficult situation we're facing.
But is that God's Will or God's best?
Jesus is too precious for us to treat as merely A SPIRITUAL COMMODITY.
He paid TOO HIGH A PRICE to purchase our Salvation for us to treat Him in such nonchalant and, frankly, DISRESPECTFUL manner.
He DESERVES our boundless love and gratitude.
He DESERVES our FULL, UNDIVIDED attention.
He DESERVES ALL our heart.
He DESERVES ALL our time.
It's an insult to give Him only that time when you have "nothing better to do".
All true believers WILL MANIFEST Jesus, sooner or later.
That's our eternal Destiny.
He is WHO we're PREDESTINED TO BECOME (Romans 8:29).
That being the case, we might as well start seeking His Face NOW and manifesting Him NOW.
We need to offer ourselves up, as living sacrifices, totally and wholeheartedly.
What could be better and more glorious than THE KING HIMSELF LIVING IN US AND MANIFESTING THROUGH US?
So, I ask you today: HOW MUCH JESUS do you want ?
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