What the Bible says about light and seed

The True Light "In him, (the Lord Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world,…the world didn’t recognize him." John 1:4,9.

The Good Seed and the Weeds “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seeds in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. Matthew 13:24,25.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Must God Choose Us? Follow Up

Must God Choose Us? Follow Up

http://gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher/

 
Q. Re: Must God Choose Us Please quit saying that Calvinists believe God created some to be saved and some to be lost. God created all of us to be in relationship with Him, but ALL of us CHOSE to turn away from Him resulting in “lostness”. In His mercy and mysterious plan, God chose some out for salvation and allowed others to have their own way. In order to accurately condemn a belief, you need to know what they actually believe.

A. Don’t take my word for it. Look up the Five Points of Calvinism, a summary of Calvinist beliefs. They’re often represented by the acronym TULIP.


  • T stands for Total Depravity (or Total Inability). As a result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God — the Fall of Man — sin has extended to all parts of every person’s being: his thinking, his emotions and his will. Thus all men are sinners by disposition and hopelessly separated from God.
  • U stands for Unconditional Election. This is the Calvinist concept of predestination: that God has divided humanity into two groups. One group is “the elect.” For reasons unknown to mankind God has chosen to make this group knowledgeable about himself. The rest will remain ignorant of God, and the Gospel. They are damned and will spend eternity in Hell without any hope of mercy or cessation of the extreme tortures. God made this selection before the universe was created, and thus before any humans existed.
  • L stands for Limited Atonement. Calvinists don’t believe Jesus died for the sins of all mankind, but only those He chose to be saved.
  • I stands for Irresistible Grace. This is their belief that every human whom God has elected will inevitably come to a knowledge of God. The elect cannot resist the call.
  • P stands for Perseverance of the saints. This is the belief in Eternal Security, or “once saved always saved”.
John Calvin is quoted as having said, “God preordained…a part of the human race, without any merit of their own, to eternal salvation, and another part, in just punishment of their sin, to eternal damnation. “

A Critique Of The Harbinger

A Critique Of The Harbinger

This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley http://gracethrufaith.com/


“The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with hewn stones; the sycamores are cut down, but we will replace them with cedars.” (Isaiah 9:10 NKJV)
It’s fair to say I was a skeptic when I picked up a copy of The Harbinger, by Jonathan Cahn. I decided to read the book only because I had received several questions about it. But I soon discovered that the author makes a stunning case for a connection between the judgment of the northern Kingdom by the Assyrians in 722 BC and the judgment of America, underway since 9-11.
The way leaders of both countries responded to a limited judgment with defiance and resolve but no repentance was way beyond coincidence. And by responding with the very same words that Isaiah attributed to Israel (Isaiah 9:10), America’s leaders left no doubt in my mind that the judgments we’ve suffered are warnings from God and they didn’t grasp the meaning of Isaiah’s words even though they repeated them over and over again.


I was tracking beautifully with the author’s interpretation of our recent history and literally couldn’t put the book down as long as he was comparing Israel’s history with ours.


Then What Happened?
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14).
But when he used the above passage to justify his claim that America could experience a different outcome from the Northern Kingdom’s, he lost me. In my mind the book was instantly downgraded to another work of fiction, although with convincing historical and spiritual analysis. I had a hard time getting through the last few chapters, because they were just a human opinion based on an incorrect interpretation of 2 chronicles 7:14. At its end the book had become just as vague and fanciful as it had been precise and direct at the beginning.
If the author is correct in his assertion that as far as God is concerned political leaders officially speak for their country, then America is not the country of “my people who are called by my name” to whom 2 Chronicles 7:14 is addressed. At a press conference in Turkey in April of 2009 President Obama said that America is not a Christian nation. He was repeating something he’d been saying since 2007. When asked to clarify this he once said, “What I mean is America is not just a Christian nation. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”


That statement doesn’t make sense. A nation may count among its residents people of many faiths, but it can’t be a nation of all of them. Such a nation could only be a nation of no official faith. And that’s what America is, we’re a nation of no official faith. (I sometimes wonder how it makes Christians from other countries feel when American Christians act as if they think America and the Church are one and the same.)


It’s true there are a lot of Christians in America. But we all belong to the Church and the Church has no national homeland, not in America and not anywhere else. The Church comes from every nation on Earth but our citizenship is in Heaven (Phil. 3:20) and that’s where our home is. American believers are not called to repent and save our country any more than believers who live in other countries are called to repent and save theirs. No matter what country we live in we’re supposed to be like Abraham, strangers in a foreign land looking forward to the city whose architect and builder is God (Hebr. 11:9-10).


Israel was a nation officially in a covenant relationship with God whose eternal destiny is to live with Him in the land He gave them here on Earth (Ezekiel 43:7). After King Solomon’s death the nation was divided, both physically and spiritually. The Northern Kingdom didn’t just split from the South, they also split from God. The Levitical Priests were expelled, and the faithful from all of the northern tribes fled to the south with them (2 Chron. 11:16). Only the unbelievers remained in the North. A new priesthood was formed and altars were erected to pagan gods. Failing to win the Northern Kingdom back, the Lord sent the Assyrians to warn them. They refused to heed the warnings and were ultimately conquered.

Even though our relationship with Him was different from theirs, America officially renounced God just as the Northern Kingdom had. Now God is judging America, and the only way for Americans to escape the coming judgment is to flee with the Church, like the believing Israelites fled with the priests. (To his credit the author did provide a moving set of instructions on how to become part of the Church.)


Once the Lord takes us home, what’s left of America will be destroyed for failing to heed God’s warnings just as the Northern Kingdom was destroyed. The dual purpose of the Great Tribulation is clearly explained in Jeremiah 30:11. The first is to completely destroy all the nations among which the Jews have been scattered, and the second is to discipline Israel in preparation for the coming Kingdom Age. If you’re looking for a Bible verse that refers to America in the end times, look at the first part of Jeremiah 30:11.


What About Them?
Things were different in the Southern Kingdom, even though they were in the process of abandoning God as well. On the Eve of their conquest by the Babylonians 120 years after the Northern Kingdom ceased to exist, God had Jeremiah tell the exiles from the Southern Kingdom: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:10-11)
By no stretch of the imagination can this promise apply to any one but the Jews in exile in Babylon in the 6th century BC. Such a promise was never given to the Northern Kingdom, nor has one been given to America.
After the 70 years were over, God brought the Jews who were willing to return back to the Promised Land, just like He said He would. But this was not the fulfillment of 2 Chronicles 7:14 either. The 70 year period of the captivity had been predetermined by God and at its end He brought them back like He said. 2 Chronicles 7:14 will be fulfilled when the Jewish leadership invokes the promise of Hosea 6:1-2 and petitions the Lord’s return to save them.


When Will That Be?
When Israel’s rejection of Jesus as their Messiah was complete, He finally left them alone. It had been 40 days since He provided the unmistakable sign they had asked for (the sign of Jonah, Matt. 12:39) to prove He was who He claimed to be. 40 being the number of testing, their time of testing had expired and they had failed. In Hosea 5:15 the prophet had Him saying,
“Then I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me.”
When the judgments of the Great Tribulation are at their worst, Israel will officially petition the Lord’s return.
“Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence” (Hosea 6:1-2).
When they do, the Lord will pour out His Spirit of Grace and Supplication. Their eyes will be opened and they will look upon Him who they have pierced and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child. (Zechariah 12:10). Some scholars have suggested that Isaiah 53 will be their official prayer of confession.
On the day the Lord returns He will be King of the whole Earth. On that day there will be one Lord and His name the only name (Zech. 14:9). Then Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations. Their blood guilt which I have not pardoned, I will pardon. The Lord dwells in Zion (Joel 3:20-21). 2 Chronicles 7:14 will finally be fulfilled.


On three separate occasions just before the Southern Kingdom was conquered by the Babylonians, God told Jeremiah to stop praying for the Jews because He wasn’t listening any more (Jeremiah 7:16, 11:14. 14:11). I believe America may also have reached that point with Him. It’s clear that America’s unbelievers don’t want the Church to save them, and the only believers still fighting for America’s future are the ones who don’t understand what’s ahead for the Church.


In summary, it’s not the Church’s job to save America. Our job is to store up treasure in Heaven by helping those who can no longer help themselves on Earth. In this way we show forth the light and love of the Lord in this dark and dying place. Selah 01-28-12

Is the Kingdom "Within You" or "In Your Midst"?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Is the Kingdom "Within You" or "In Your Midst"?
By Dr. Michael J. Vlach Theological Studies

One of the most debated passages regarding the kingdom of God is Luke 17:20-21. Is this verse teaching that the kingdom of God is a spiritual entity that resides in the hearts of men?
The New International Version translates this passage in a way that indicates that the kingdom is an inner reality:
Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you” (emphasis mine).
But the New American Standard Bible translates it differently:
Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst” (emphasis mine).


We will look at two issues here. First, what does Jesus mean when He says that the kingdom of God is not coming with signs and observation? And second, is Jesus saying that the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom that resides in the hearts of men, or is He declaring a nearness and a presence of the kingdom in His person?
I’ll address the second issue first.
As I survey various Bible translations they seem to split down the middle on this issue. You can read several that declare that entos humon should be translated “within you” while an equal number confidently claim that “in your midst” is the best translation. It does appear that most of the modern versions opt for the “in your midst” understanding (NASB, HCSB, ESV). Walter Elwell, when discussing twentieth century discoveries and translations, stated:
“Another example is that in koine Greek, the expression entos humon (literally, ‘inside of you’) often meant ‘within reach.’ Thus, Jesus’ statement in Luke 17:21 could mean, ‘the kingdom is within reach.’” [1]


In situations like this where there is a translation issue I think it best to see if the context can shed light on which understanding is correct. There are two contextual reasons why I prefer the “in your midst” view and not “within you.”
First, the immediate audience to whom Jesus was speaking was the Pharisees (“He answered them and said”). It is highly unlikely that Jesus would say the kingdom of God was in their hearts. Just read the woes to the Pharisees of Matthew 23 and you will see that the Pharisees had wicked hearts, not hearts in which the kingdom resided. Some have claimed that Jesus was speaking in a generic fashion and making a general statement that the kingdom is an inner spiritual reality. But verse 20 makes it clear that the Pharisees were the recipients of His words.


Second, in kingdom passages that follow, both Luke 19:11-27 and 21:31 indicate that the kingdom is not a present spiritual kingdom in the heart but a kingdom that will come in the future. Jesus offers the parable of the minas to counter the idea that the kingdom would be established immediately (Luke 19:11). With Luke 21:31 Jesus indicates that the kingdom would only be near with the events of the coming Tribulation Period. If Jesus was preaching a spiritual kingdom of the heart why does He make it so clear after 17:21 that the kingdom was a future entity?


Are There Signs for the Kingdom?
Concerning the second issue, why does Jesus say not to look for signs of the kingdom in Luke 17:20? I believe the reason is because the kingdom was present in Jesus’ person as He stood before them. Perhaps what Jesus is saying is, “Don’t look for signs of the kingdom because, the kingdom is right in front of you with My presence and works.” It is interesting that when Jesus is discussing future events in Luke 21 He tells His apostles that cosmic signs and other future events are signs of the kingdom’s nearness.


“So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near” (Luke 21:31).


Note the difference between Luke 17:21 and Luke 21:31:
•Luke 17:20-21—Jesus says not to look for signs concerning the kingdom.
•Luke 21:31—Jesus says to look for signs concerning the kingdom.


The best way to harmonize these two passages is to understand that Jesus’ bodily presence carries with it a presence of the kingdom, but when He is gone from the earth, the kingdom is not present. At the time of Luke 17:20-21 Jesus was bodily present, thus there was no need to look for signs of the kingdom. The kingdom was present in His person. But when He is bodily absent from earth one can look for signs of His return and the coming of the kingdom of God (Luke 21:31).
I know that there is a lot of debate over Luke 17:20-21 and I respect opinions contrary to mine. But I am convinced by the context that “in your midst” is a better translation than “within you.”

Endnotes
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[1] Walter A. Elwell and Philip Wesley Comfort, Tyndale Bible Dictionary, 2001, p. 207.
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Saturday, January 28, 2012

YOUR BOSS MIGHT BE A PSYCHO!

Jobless man builds a house out of $1.82 billion worth of shredded money


What would you do with $1.82 billion worth of shredded money? In Ireland, people build houses out of it — at least that's what Dublin-based artist Frank Buckley did. The unemployed artist originally wanted to create a gallery for his series of mixed-media artworks called "Expressions of Recession," but he ended up building a house instead.
Buckley has been working roughly 12 hours a day every day since the beginning of December. During the early part of the construction process, he made bricks out of the decommissioned Euros Ireland's mint lent him. In all, around 50,000 money bricks went into building the house that consists of a bedroom, a bathroom, and a living room. He plans to continue expanding the house that sits on an empty office building to include a kitchen, a shower, and a patio.
If you're wondering how it feels to live in a house made out of paper currency, he said that it's quite warm inside: "Whatever you say about the Euro, it's a great insulator." Frank is one of the countless people all over the globe affected by recession, and he built the house because he "wanted to create something from nothing." It will take around seven more weeks to complete building his new home, but Buckley (who's been living in the house since December) welcomes any visitor who wants to take a look at his billion-dollar masterpiece.
Irish Times via Treehugger
This article was written by Mariella Moon and originally appeared on Tecca

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Siete Señales Proféticas Principales Sobre La Segunda Venida

Siete Señales Proféticas Principales Sobre La Segunda Venida

Undécimo Informe Anual Actualizado, Enero, 2012
Un Comentario Por Jack Kelley. http://gracethrufaith.com/estudios-biblicos-en-espanol
Existen siete señales proféticas principales sobre la Segunda Venida, y actualmente todas ellas se encuentran en algún estado de cumplimiento. Como en años anteriores, voy a enumerar estas siete señales mencionando sus referencias bíblicas más importantes y ofreciendo al mismo tiempo un comentario sobre los eventos presentes.

1. Israel Volverá a Su Tierra… Ezequiel 36:8-12; 37:21
Hablándole a la Tierra, Dios dijo,
“Mas vosotros, oh montes de Israel, daréis vuestras ramas, y llevaréis vuestro fruto para mi pueblo Israel; porque cerca están para venir. Porque he aquí, yo estoy por vosotros, y a vosotros me volveré, y seréis labrados y sembrados. Y haré multiplicar sobre vosotros hombres, a toda la casa de Israel, toda ella; y las ciudades serán habitadas, y edificadas las ruinas. Multiplicaré sobre vosotros hombres y ganado, y serán multiplicados y crecerán; y os haré morar como solíais antiguamente, y os haré mayor bien que en vuestros principios; y sabréis que yo soy Jehová. Y haré andar hombres sobre vosotros, a mi pueblo Israel; y tomarán posesión de ti, y les serás por heredad, y nunca más les matarás los hijos”
Y al Pueblo de Israel,
“Así ha dicho Jehová el Señor: He aquí, yo tomo a los hijos de Israel de entre las naciones a las cuales fueron, y los recogeré de todas partes, y los traeré a su tierra”.
A pesar de que Ezequiel escribió estas palabras mientras los israelitas se encontraban en Babilonia, no se cumplieron cuando la nación retornó del exilio. Igual que Isaías antes que él (Isaías 11:11) Ezequiel estaba hablando del segundo y último retorno. Por consiguiente, en 1948, cuando Israel volvió a tomar su lugar entre las naciones del mundo, por primera vez en casi 2.000 años, los estudiosos de la profecía reconocieron el cumplimiento de la primera señal que indicaba que el final de la era se aproximaba. Jesús dijo que algunas personas de la generación que estaba naciendo cuando eso sucedió, aun estarían vivos cuando Él retornara (Mateo 24:34). Tanto el Salmo 90:10 e Isaías 23:15 indican que el lapso promedio bíblico de vida es de 70 años. Y puesto que ya han pasado 63 años desde que Israel se convirtió de nuevo en nación después de haber estado ausente por casi 1900 años, los estudiosos de la profecía han dicho que debemos creer que el fin de la era está sobre nosotros.

2. Jerusalén Estará en Manos Judías… Lucas 21:24
“Y caerán a filo de espada, y serán llevados cautivos a todas las naciones; y Jerusalén será hollada por los gentiles, hasta que los tiempos de los gentiles se cumplan”.
El Señor profetizó que la reunificación de Jerusalén como una Ciudad Judía sería una señal de la influencia extranjera (gentil) sobre Su Tierra, y ciertamente sobre el mundo, y que estaría por finalizar (Lucas 21:24). El cumplimiento de esta profecía empezó en el año 1967, y los eruditos la vieron como otra señal principal que el final de la era había empezado. El esfuerzo casi mundial para dividir de nuevo la ciudad es en esencia una lucha de voluntades. Casi todos los líderes de Israel han estado firmes sobre su compromiso de mantener Jerusalén unida para siempre como la capital de Israel, pero los líderes incrédulos del mundo están resueltamente determinados a dividirla.


El Señor dijo que al final de la era Él pondría a Jerusalén por copa que hará temblar a todos los pueblos, y por piedra inamovible a todos los pueblos; todos los que quieran moverla serán despedazados (Zacarías 12:2-3). Este año pasado muchos de los ataques en contra de Israel se han concentrado en Jerusalén. Los líderes estadounidenses, algunos de ellos tradicionalmente los más fieles aliados de Israel, se han pronunciado públicamente llamando a Jerusalén del este como territorio ocupado y han exigido que no se construyan más casas judías ahí. Han intentado aun detener la construcción en vecindarios que no están en disputa. En todo el año, la Unión Europea ha ejercido presión para que se emita una declaración oficial para dividir Jerusalén y así darle cabida a un futuro estado palestino que tenga como capital a Jerusalén. Un número importante de países han estado trabajando con los palestinos para obligar a las NN.UU. a que reconozca un estado palestino en la Tierra Prometida, con Jerusalén Este como capital. Detrás de todo esto, por supuesto, hay una batalla espiritual de grandes proporciones. Mientras no queda duda sobre el resultado final, la lucha continúa siendo muy feroz.


Yo he llegado a creer que Jerusalén no será realmente libre de ser “hollada” por los gentiles sino hasta que el Señor retorne. La profecía de Daniel sobre el dominio gentil no va a terminar sino hasta que el Señor establezca Su reino (Daniel 2:36-45), la profecía de Zacarías es que la ciudad va a ser capturada y dividida justo antes del retorno del Señor (Zacarías 14:2), y las observaciones que hace Juan en Apocalipsis 11:1-2 sobre los gentiles hollando el patio exterior del Templo durante la gran tribulación, confirman esto. Pero aun así, el hecho de que Jerusalén está de vuelta en manos judías es otra de las grandes señales de que el fin se aproxima pronto.


3. Una Coalición Musulmana Armada y Guiada por Rusia Atacará la Tierra Prometida… Ezequiel 38:2-6
“Hijo de hombre, pon tu rostro contra Gog en tierra de Magog, príncipe soberano de Mesec y Tubal, y profetiza contra él, y di: Así ha dicho Jehová el Señor: He aquí, yo estoy contra ti, oh Gog, príncipe soberano de Mesec y Tubal. Y te quebrantaré, y pondré garfios en tus quijadas, y te sacaré a ti y a todo tu ejército, caballos y jinetes, de todo en todo equipados, gran multitud con paveses y escudos, teniendo todos ellos espadas; Persia, Cus y Fut con ellos; todos ellos con escudo y yelmo; Gomer, y todas sus tropas; la casa de Togarma, de los confines del norte, y todas sus tropas; muchos pueblos contigo”.
Numerosas referencias históricas dejan claro que Magog es la moderna Rusia de hoy día, y que los otros países nombrados aquí forman una coalición basada en su religión común, el Islam. (Hoy día Rusia es 30% musulmán y va en aumento.) Entre ellas está Irán, varios países del Norte de África, los países de Europa Oriental que bordean el río Danubio, y las naciones turcas del Asia Menor. Un rápido vistazo a un mapamundi revelará que estas áreas son la residencia de algunos de los grupos musulmanes terroristas más radicales.


Los rusos son en la actualidad los principales suplidores de armas a la coalición musulmana, tal y como Ezequiel lo profetizó, y serán llamados a unirse a esta batalla por el mismo Dios. La política poco disimulada de Rusia de convertirse en una potencia foránea principal en el Medio Oriente, está en las manos del Señor. Rusia ha movilizado parte de su flota marina del Mar Negro, incluyendo su único portaviones, al Mar Mediterráneo, frente a las costas de Siria y recientemente ha desplegado baterías de cohetes tierra-buque y antiaéreas en Siria también. Irán y Rusia están muy avanzados en la implementación de un negocio de $50 mil millones para proveer a Irán con energía nuclear. Los diez reactores que forman parte del negocio se supone que son para la generación de electricidad, pero la mayoría de los líderes occidentales sospecha que esos reactores serán utilizados para la fabricación de bombas nucleares también. Algunos expertos afirman que Irán se convertiría en una potencia nuclear este año pasado, pero debido al extenso daño causado por el misterioso virus informático Stuxnet, los expertos ahora creen que la fabricación de una bomba está a menos de un año de distancia. Israel y los EE.UU. de nuevo han prometido prevenir que eso suceda, pero después de un período de vacilación el lenguaje que salió de Washington al final del año parece ser cada vez más fuerte. De hecho, la cadena de noticias CBS ha predicho que los EE.UU. van a atacar Irán en algún momento en 2012.

El mayor obstáculo para un pronto cumplimiento de esta profecía es la referencia a que ocurra en un momento cuando Israel se “sienta tranquilo y habite confiadamente” (Ezequiel 38:11). Este ciertamente no es el caso hoy día, pero en el Salmo 83 e Isaías 17 encontramos unas profecías que aun no se han cumplido y que parecen involucrar a todos los vecinos de Israel en otro inútil intento de borrarlo del mapa. El salmista le ruega al Señor que intervenga y derrote a los atacantes de Israel. Una victoria por parte de Israel explica el por qué ninguna de estas naciones las menciona Ezequiel en su lista de naciones antagónicas, a pesar de que uno esperaría verlas al frente de la lista. Eso también explicaría cómo Israel estaría viviendo en un percibido estado de seguridad como lo requiere Ezequiel 38:11. Tres de los vecinos de Israel, Siria, Hamas y Hezbolá se encuentran haciendo frenéticos preparativos para la guerra y se ha informado que esperan una guerra pronto. Sin que eso nos sorprenda, estas preparaciones están siendo financiadas por Irán. A través del 2011 otros expertos de ambos lados anunciaron públicamente sus conclusiones de que una guerra es inminente, pero al finalizar este año, eso todavía no sucedió, a pesar de que por lo menos una agencia de inteligencia está prediciendo una alta probabilidad durante la primera mitad de Enero.


Pero otros dos prerrequisitos para la batalla de Ezequiel se están cumpliendo claramente. En otros estudios anteriores he podido mostrar que Turquía estará del lado musulmán en la batalla de Ezequiel, pero durante años Turquía ha disfrutado de una sólida relación con Israel. Todo eso empezó a cambiar en el 2010 y ha continuado en el 2011. El Primer Ministro turco, Erdogan cree que el destino de Turquía es el de reconstruir el Imperio Otomano dentro de las potencias del Medio Oriente. Se está comportando muy amablemente con Irán y con Siria para lograr su cometido. Y por todas las apariencias externas, no tomará mucho tiempo para que Turquía aterrice sólidamente en el campo de la coalición musulmana.


Hasta el presente Israel ciertamente no había poseído ninguna riqueza visible, por decirlo de alguna manera, pero con el reciente descubrimiento que hizo Israel de petróleo y gas natural, los cuales se dice que valen miles de millones de dólares, eso puede producir la riqueza necesaria para que Israel se convierta en un blanco atractivo. Sólo recientemente los geólogos han revisado sus predicciones aumentando drásticamente el volumen de sus reservas de gas natural. Eso puede hacer que se cumpla la profecía de Ezequiel 38:13 cuando Rusia busque el botín. Puede existir suficiente gas natural para suplir las necesidades de Israel durante 100 años y hacer que se transforme de un importador neto a un exportador neto. Ya Rusia se está involucrando para llevar este gas al mercado, y según Ezequiel, irá a la guerra en lo que resultará un fracasado intento por hacerlo.


Yo creo que la eliminación de los EE.UU. como el aliado más poderoso de Israel es también necesaria para pavimentar el camino para la batalla de Ezequiel, porque no creo que la coalición musulmana vaya a atacar hasta estar segura de que los EE.UU. no van a tomar represalias. Cualquiera de los distintos escenarios que se están jugando, puede lograr esto, especialmente cuando la política nacional de los EE.UU. hacia Israel ya no es lo que antes había sido. Una recesión que se profundiza cada día más nos puede obligar a volvernos hacia dentro y así perder el interés de defender a Israel. Una depreciación mayor del dólar en los mercados internacionales aun nos puede hacer incapaces de hacerlo. La amenaza o la ocurrencia real de un ataque terrorista mayor pueden obligarnos a alejarnos de ese escenario. Y finalmente el Rapto de la Iglesia puede privar a los EE.UU. tanto del liderazgo como del elemento humano para poder responder. Cualquiera de estas situaciones significan serios problemas para los EE.UU. y todas ellas tienen una probabilidad más grande de suceder en este año que empieza. En resumen, se está volviendo más fácil vislumbrar a los EE.UU. abandonando su compromiso con Israel.


Cuando sea el momento correcto, y habiéndose llevado Su Iglesia al Cielo, el Señor va a utilizar esta batalla para sincronizar Su reconciliación con Israel, y pisándole los talones el anticristo saldrá con un plan de paz el cual incluye el Templo Judío. De tal manera que cuando esta batalla suceda, la profecía de los tiempos finales se acelerará.


4. El Antiguo Imperio Romano Volverá a Surgir Como Una Potencia Política… Apocalipsis 17:9-10
“Esto, para la mente que tenga sabiduría: Las siete cabezas son siete montes, sobre los cuales se sienta la mujer, y son siete reyes. Cinco de ellos han caído; uno es, y el otro aún no ha venido; y cuando venga, es necesario que dure breve tiempo”.
Esta señal es un poco obscura si uno no conoce algo sobre la historia. Cuando Juan estaba escribiendo esto cerca del año 95 d.C., solamente habían existido cinco potencias mundiales, Egipto, Asiria, Babilonia, Persia, y Grecia. Todas ellas fueron conquistadas y absorbidas por otro conquistador. La potencia de ese entonces era Roma, la cual en realidad nunca fue conquistada y es la que resurgirá al final de la era, según Daniel 9:26.

Daniel 2:36-45 describe el dominio gentil desde el tiempo de Daniel hacia delante (Egipto y Asiria ya habían caído) en la forma de una gran estatua que representaba a los cuatro imperios restantes, Babilonia era la cabeza de oro. Persia era el pecho y los brazos de plata. Grecia era el vientre y los muslos de bronce, seguido de las dos manifestaciones de Roma, las dos piernas de hierro (la Roma bíblica) y los dos pies de hierro mezclados con barro cocido (el Imperio Romano Restablecido). Léanla cuidadosamente y encontrarán algunas cosas interesantes en la descripción de los pies sobre los que se sostiene la estatua. Estos están hechos de hierro mezclado con barro cocido. En primer lugar, estos dos materiales no se mezclan entre sí. Podemos imaginarnos a unos pedazos de barro con pegamento que se utilizan para unir unas piezas de hierro entre sí, pero el lenguaje describe un barro que está hecho de polvo y que ha sido cocido, lo cual lo hace quebradizo como las vasijas de barro. Uno no puede hacer que unas piezas de hierro y de barro tomadas al azar se unan unas con las otras.


Las dos piernas de hierro de la estatua describen las dos divisiones del Imperio Romano en tiempos bíblicos, la occidental y la oriental. Hoy día el territorio de la división occidental lo ocupa Europa, mientras que el territorio oriental comprende los países islámicos del Medio Oriente. Estos son los dos pies de hierro mezclado con barro cocido, y ambos tienen sus propios problemas.


Al momento de este escrito la división occidental se encuentra en la cuerda floja debido a problemas económicos. Algunas personas predicen que esos problemas van a obligar a hacer una reconfiguración mayor de la pierna occidental en el 2012 cuando las economías más débiles sean abandonadas para que no se traigan abajo a las más fuertes. Algunos expertos también piensan si las derrotas combinadas que menciona el Salmo 83 y Ezequiel 38-39 van a causar que la pierna oriental sea incapaz de poder convertirse en parte del imperio mundial del fin de los tiempos. Pero Daniel tenía los dos pies en mente en el capítulo 2, de tal manera que ambas divisiones del Imperio Romano tienen que estar presentes al final de la era. Este año bien puede traer algunos eventos que nos hagan abrir los ojos en nuestro entendimiento de cómo va a formarse este imperio del fin de los tiempos


5. El Mundo Abarcará Una Sola Religión… Apocalipsis 13:8
“Y la adoraron todos los moradores de la tierra cuyos nombres no estaban escritos en el libro de la vida del Cordero que fue inmolado desde el principio del mundo”.
No se engañen. El Islam es la potencia religiosa con mayor fuerza en el mundo hoy día y su meta es ni más ni menos que el dominio mundial, por cualquier método que sea necesario. Es la religión con mayor crecimiento a nivel mundial, y solamente le sigue al cristianismo en cantidad de adeptos. A la fecha, cerca de uno de cada cuatro habitantes del mundo es musulmán, y como muchos cristianos y judíos, no saben realmente qué es en lo que creen, ni porqué. Yo no soy ningún profeta, pero conforme miro hacia el futuro, es más fácil para mí ver al Islam montado sobre su actual ola impetuosa para llenar el vacío dejado por la partida de la Iglesia, que lo es imaginarse alguna mezcla de cristianismo apóstata y de misticismo de la Nueva Era haciéndolo.


Mucho se ha escrito recientemente sobre al Madi, un personaje de las profecías musulmanas las cuales son asombrosamente similares a las profecías cristianas del anticristo. Por ejemplo, ambas muestran a un líder que emerge a la escena durante un tiempo de mucha confusión en la tierra. Ambas lo muestran como un hombre de paz que va a tener un reinado de siete años, que dirigirá una religión mundial y un gobierno mundial, y declarará poseer orígenes sobrenaturales. Ambas profecías culminan en una batalla entre el bien y el mal la cual lleva a la tierra al juicio final. Es como si estuvieran señalando a la misma persona. La diferencia es que en el Islam él es el tipo bueno, mientras que la Biblia le llama el maligno.
]Tomemos a este carismático líder político y religioso con sus poderes sobrenaturales, agreguémosle a eso la creencia general pero errónea de que Dios y Alá son lo mismo, y que el Islam es una religión de paz, y luego restemos el espíritu de discernimiento que desaparecerá con la Iglesia y ustedes podrán darse cuenta cómo es que esa puede ser la tablita de salvación a la que un mundo al borde del caos se puede agarrar para poder sobrevivir.6. El Mundo Aceptará Un Solo Gobierno… Apocalipsis 13:3
“Y se maravilló toda la tierra en pos de la bestia”.
La última elección presidencial en los EE.UU. ha demostrado lo rápido que un pueblo temeroso y desilusionado necesita para seguir a alguien que le promete cambiar las cosas. Si ustedes observan el estado del mundo no se requiere de mucho para poder imaginarse que las circunstancias lleguen a un punto en el que todo el mundo estará de acuerdo en seguir a un líder que promete traer el orden donde existe el caos. Ya sea que se trate del calentamiento global (llamado ahora cambio climático) o la declinación del dólar estadounidense, el colapso de Europa, o la guerra en el Medio Oriente, la única solución que todas las personas están mencionando es alguna forma de gobierno mundial. Con todas las cosas que ya están amenazando la estabilidad mundial y que cada día son peores, ¿cuánto más desesperada podría quedar la gente después de que millones de sus vecinos desaparezcan sin previo aviso ni explicación, y que haya habido un intercambio nuclear que produzca destrucción desde Europa a través del Medio Oriente hasta Rusia? Todo lo que se necesitará será un líder que pueda persuadir a la gente de que él es quien puede arreglar las cosas y así llevar a su cumplimiento esta profecía. Según muchos informes, este líder está esperando su ingreso.


7. Babilonia Resurgirá Como una Ciudad Prominente en los Asuntos Mundiales… Apocalipsis 18:2-3
“Y clamó con voz potente, diciendo: Ha caído, ha caído la gran Babilonia, y se ha hecho habitación de demonios y guarida de todo espíritu inmundo, y albergue de toda ave inmunda y aborrecible. Porque todas las naciones han bebido del vino del furor de su fornicación; y los reyes de la tierra han fornicado con ella, y los mercaderes de la tierra se han enriquecido de la potencia de sus deleites”.
Ustedes posiblemente no podrán estar al tanto de ello, pero Babilonia está siendo preparada para aceptar su destino como una ciudad poderosa en los tiempos finales. En este momento es solamente una ciudad ceremonial; pero hace 20 años nadie se imaginaba que pudiera existir del todo. Una de las sorpresas de la Primera Guerra del Golfo fue haber descubierto Babilonia construida en los bancos del Río Éufrates otra vez. Y en este momento hay un esfuerzo concertado para poder completar lo que Saddam Hussein empezó y devolverle a Babilonia su prominencia mundial. El gobierno de Irak ha decidido hacer de Babilonia un destino turístico internacional como uno de los mejores intereses para el país, y los EE.UU. está patrocinando un estudio de factibilidad para lograr eso mismo.
Debido a la presente falta de importancia de Babilonia en el acontecer mundial, algunos estudiosos de la profecía buscan un cumplimiento alegórico de su destrucción en Apocalipsis 18, y ciertamente muchos ven a los EE.UU., o a alguna de sus ciudades como un candidato lógico. Pero debemos recordar que a pesar de que en Apocalipsis 17:9 Juan describe a Babilonia como un “misterio” y que está sentada sobre siete colinas, una profecía en Zacarías 5:5-11 la muestra siendo llevada a la “tierra de Sinar”, siendo esa una referencia a la antigua Mesopotamia llamada hoy día Irak. En la Biblia no podemos pasar de las interpretaciones literales a las alegóricas sin antes tener una directriz clara, y cuando la referencia es de Babilonia, no existe tal directriz. De hecho lo opuesto es lo cierto. Casi desde su inicio la Biblia ha sido la historia de dos ciudades. Jerusalén, la Ciudad de Dios, mientras que Babilonia siempre ha sido la ciudad de la humanidad. Ambas desaparecieron de la escena mundial durante muchos siglos, pero cuando Jerusalén volvió, fue a su lugar original. La Biblia dice que lo mismo sucederá con Babilonia.


Dolores de Parto… Mateo 24:6-8
Y oiréis de guerras y rumores de guerras; mirad que no os turbéis, porque es necesario que todo esto acontezca; pero aún no es el fin. Porque se levantará nación contra nación, y reino contra reino; y habrá pestes, y hambres, y terremotos en diferentes lugares. Y todo esto será principio de dolores [de parto].
Los expertos dicen que las grandes cosas que debemos observar en el 2012 son las acciones de una nación en contra de otra y un reino en contra de otro. La primera de estas lo más seguro es que suceda en el Medio Oriente y se centrará alrededor de Siria. Luego de su éxito en Libia, Qatar ha formado una fuerza multinacional de rápido despliegue de guerreros musulmanes suní con el propósito de ayudar a las fuerzas anti sirias a derrocar al régimen del presidente Assad. El primer contingente ha sido estacionado en Turquía, cerca de la frontera con Siria. Muchos de estos soldados son de Libia e Irak y están respaldados por Arabia Saudita y Turquía, con los EE.UU. como un socio silencioso. La posibilidad de que esto pase hacia Líbano e Israel se considera muy alta y puede llevar al cumplimiento del Salmo 83 e Isaías 17 a principios del año 2012.


También habrá grandes problemas en la UE si los países más estables tratan de expulsar a los que están financieramente inestables para evitar que los últimos se traigan abajo a toda la Unión. Los líderes financieros del mundo han advertido que el fracaso de Europa en resolver estas dificultades sumirá al mundo entero en una recesión aún peor de la que supuestamente estaban saliendo. Se están haciendo predicciones de revueltas civiles generalizadas como consecuencia de ese fracaso. Estos mismos observadores consideran que una solución operativa no se dará y que el año 2012 bien puede ser el comienzo en que el mundo tendrá que empezar a pagar por tantos años de gasto excesivo.
El precio de los alimentos se ha reducido un poco de su nivel más alto del año pasado, pero los expertos advierten no descuidarnos. El precio de los alimentos continuará siendo volátil y en los países más pobres eso representará el 45% del ingreso familiar. Ya una de cada seis personas en el mundo se acuesta con hambre cada noche. Los expertos han dicho que se necesitaría solamente uno o dos años de malas cosechas para causar una seria hambruna en el mundo. Muchas personas están concluyendo que el año 2011 fue un mal año y que el 2012 no será nada mejor.
Los terremotos son ahora una ocurrencia diaria. Durante el 2011 hubo un terremoto de magnitud 5,0 o mayos en alguna parte del mundo casi a diario, siendo el más costoso de la historia ($235 mil millones) el de 9,0 del Japón.


El Señor dijo que estos dolores de parto serían una señal de advertencia de la cercanía del final de la era, por eso es que he incluido algunos ejemplos para confirmar mi creencia de que estamos muy cerca de nuestros últimos días en la Tierra. El consenso de los profesionales parece ser que las cosas no van a mejorar pronto y lo más seguro es que empeoren aun más hacia finales del 2012. Eso podrá ser cierto para el mundo, pero a nosotros se nos dice que debemos andar por fe, no por vista (2 Corintios 5:7) porque nuestra ciudadanía está en el Cielo y ansiosamente esperamos un Salvador desde allí, nuestro Señor Jesucristo (Filipenses 3:20). Cuando comiencen a suceder estas cosas, cobren ánimo y levanten la cabeza, porque se acerca nuestra redención (Lucas 21:28). Estas promesas nunca han sido tan ciertas como lo serán este año 2012. ¡Feliz Año! Que todas las bendiciones del Señor sean de ustedes. 31/12/11.


Título Original: Seven Major Prophetic Signs Of The Second Coming
Traducido por Walter Reiche-Berger

Monday, January 23, 2012

Replacement Theology

Introduction

Replacement Theology "is the view that the church is the new or true Israel that has permanently replaced or superseded Israel as the people of God."[1] This Ecclesiological position is known by varying names including Supersessionism, Covenant Theology, and Restoration Theology, and is also the prevailing view of the Kingdom Now / Dominion Theology movement. This position, that the Church 'replaces' Israel while inheriting the covenant blessings of Abraham, is widespread among main-line denominational churches in America. Though the statistics are a bit dated, the following list may help to illustrate the predominance of Replacement Theology in the United States. The name of the Church / denomination is followed by the estimated number of U.S. adherents as of 2004[ii]:

The Roman Catholic Church - 66,407,105
The United Methodist Church - 8,251,042
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America - 5,038,006
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - 3,407,329
The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod - 2,512,714
African Methodist Episcopal Church - 2,500,000
The Episcopal Church - 2,333,628
Churches of Christ, Corsicana, Texas - 1,500,000
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America - 1,500,000
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church - 1,430,795
United Church of Christ - 1,330,985
Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, Joplin, Mo. - 1,071,616


Represented in this list are nearly 100 million Americans and 12 of the largest 23 Church bodies in the United States. (My list excludes the LDS Church and the Jehovah's Witnesses, though technically they too espouse Replacement Theology.) By comparison, the list's remaining 11 Church denominations, who traditionally reject Replacement Theology, claim only 43.2 million members.[iii] Grant Jeffrey is correct when he asserts that "there is a major division growing between churches and denominations over Israel's role in God's plan today."[iv]


This essay will seek to demonstrate the following: (1) Replacement Theology is the theological rational behind two millennia of murderous anti-Semitism. (2) One's view of Replacement Theology will inevitably affect one's view of Ecclesiology (view of the Church) and Eschatology (view of the Last Things). (3) Fundamentally, to embrace Replacement Theology is to impugn God's character. (4) The fanatical anti-Semitism behind radical Islam is the logical conclusion of Islam's own brand of Replacement Theology.


From Augustine to Auschwitz
It may sound unreasonable at first, but Replacement Theology played a major part in paving the way towards Hitler's holocaust. The story begins all the way back during the days of the early Church. (What follows is admittedly greatly over-simplified.) According to Dr. Thomas Ice, around AD 160 Justin Martyr was the first to espouse the view that "the Christian church [is] 'the true spiritual Israel.'"[v] Taking the next step down the slippery slope was the hugely influential theologian and scholar Origen (185- ca.254 AD). Origen began to develop a system of allegorizing the Scriptures - rejecting the literal hermeneutics of other Church Fathers.[vi] Origen's allegorical approach, which lends itself to the Church replacing Israel, inspired Augustine (354-430 AD) - perhaps the most influential theologian in the history of the Western Church. (Augustine was a Replacement Theologian.) Add Augustine's theological backing to the powerful emerging Church-State dynamic, and the unfortunate recipe for anti-Semitic disaster was well-nigh established. (After all, the literal pre-millennial view of the Scriptures was and is inherently antithetical to a Church-State system seeking to subdue the world.)[vii] The stage was set for the Crusades and the Inquisitions. Lest the reader think the case is being overstated, listen to the venomous words of Augustine's contemporary John Crysostom (349-407 AD), widely considered to be the most prominent Preacher of his day:

"The Jews are the most worthless of all men. They are lecherous, greedy and rapacious. They are perfidious murders of Christ. They worshiped the devil; their religion is a sickness. The Jews are the odious assassins of Christ, and for killing God there is no expiation possible, no indulgence or pardon. Christians may never cease vengeance, and the Jews must live in servitude forever. God always hated the Jews. It is incumbent upon all Christians to hate the Jews."[viii]


I believe that Dr. Ice is justified in making the following statement:
"Replacement theology has been the fuel that has energized Medieval anti-Semitism, Eastern European pogroms, the Holocaust and contemporary disdain for the modern state of Israel."[ix]


Dr. Chuck Missler calls it the 'road from Augustine to Auschwitz.'[x] Dave Hunt explains:
"Hitler justified his 'final solution' by pointing out that the [Catholic] Church had oppressed and killed Jews for centuries. How amazing that those who claimed to be the followers of Christ and successors of Peter could 'persecute the race from which Peter - and Jesus - sprang'! Yet they did it in the name of Christ and felt justified thereby."[xi]


An Issue for Today
Whether they know it or not, many Evangelical and Protestant Churches in the West have inherited Augustine's view of the Church and Israel. Dr. Ice explains:
"The church often allegorizes many portions of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, in order to teach that since the time of Christ Israel has no claim to the land of Israel."[xii]


Dr. J. Randall Price writes in an article entitled Is the Modern State of Israel Prophetically Significant?:
"There are also Catholic, Protestant, and Reformed churches in the West who, while accepting the political reality of the modern Jewish state, deny any theological importance to Jewish regathering."[xiii]
This would help to explain why it took the Vatican 46 years to recognize the existence of the modern State of Israel.[xiv] This would help to explain why the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. called for divestment from its holdings connected to Israeli interests.[xv] This would help to explain "widespread unbalanced media reporting" of events in Israel and the Middle East.[xvi] This would help to explain why, indirectly, Replacement Theology is official United States foreign policy.[xvii] This would help to explain why, as Dr. J. Randall Price reports, many Eastern Churches "view the existence of the State of Israel, and especially Judaism, as an intrusion into a religious situation dominated by their ecclesiastical bodies since the early centuries of Christianity. From their shared theological perspective of replacement theology, they are the rightful successors of the ancient church and therefore of the old Israel and consider themselves to be a part of the Land in their own right."[xviii]
Dr. Price continues: "For this reason the modern rebirth of the Jewish state is seen as of no special importance. This theological attitude is more or less held by churches in the West, who, with churches in the East must enter into conflict with the Jewish state over political and property issues or in protests of the Israeli government's treatment of the resident Christian community, the larger percentage of which is Palestinian Arab."[xix]


In an article entitled Christian Zionism Dr. Thomas Ice states, "If the Bible is to be taken literally and still applies to Israel...it should not be surprising to anyone that such a view leads one, such as myself, to Christian Zionism. Zionism is simply the desire for the Jewish people to occupy the land of Israel. Christian Zionists are Christians who advocate this belief."[xx] Dr. Ice notes that while Christian Zionism is on the rise, so too is its opposition. It appears that the issue of Israel is increasingly a watershed issue for the Church.


God's Character is on the Line
In his new book Epicenter, Joel Rosenberg chooses his side:
"Second, as an evangelical Christian, I believed what the Bible said about God giving the land of Israel to the Jewish people as an everlasting covenant, one that could not be broken, no matter what mistakes we Jews made throughout the centuries."[xxi]
Rosenberg's remarks bring us to the heart of the matter. The issue of Replacement Theology is not primarily about Ecclesiology, Eschatology, or getting back to our Jewish roots - as important as these issues are for born-again Christians. The real issue is the integrity of God's promises to Abraham and the Jewish people. Chapters 12, 15, and 17 of Genesis state plainly enough that the Abrahamic Covenants are unconditional and everlasting. And the Hebrew word used repeatedly for everlasting means, yes, everlasting! By all accounts the Mosaic Covenants were conditional or performance-based, yet Paul addresses this issue head-on in Galatians 3:17-18:
And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Ezekiel 36 in its proper context makes it very clear that ultimately God fulfills His promises to Abraham, not because of Israel's obedience, but for the sake of His Holy name. Verses 22 states emphatically:
Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.
When applied to a literal and future event, there can be no doubt as to what Ezekiel 36 is referring. Isaiah 11:11 makes it clear that Israel would be scattered among the nations twice, and Hosea 6:2 hints that the second Diaspora would last about 2000 years. Taken at face value, Daniel 9:24-27 explains this mysterious 2000 year interval 'filled in' by the Church. Romans 11 explicitly states that Israel's blindness (initiated in Luke 19) is temporary. The original Jewish branches will be grafted back in!
Galatians 6:16 is the only verse that can possibly be used to argue that the Church replaces Israel - but even that is a contrivance once the grammar is carefully analyzed, especially in light of Galatians 6:15. I know it sounds harsh, but I agree with Grant Jeffrey:
"Some Christians still reject the clear teaching of the Old and New Testaments about the role of Israel in God's plan for the redemption of the planet. The Bible declares that Israel's covenant with God is unbroken. Israel is still the key to the unfolding prophetic events leading to the second coming of Christ. Since these prophetic Scriptures are unshakable, the only way to escape their clear message is to arbitrarily change the meaning of the Bible's words (emphasis added)."[xxii]


Dr. Ice agrees, stating "Since Israel is a subject found on just about every page of the Old and New Testaments, to get that subject wrong can only lead to a mega-distortion of Scripture. This has indeed been the case throughout the history of the church."[xxiii]


In an article entitled The Kingdom of God, Dave Hunt asserts, "Thus to deny Israel that special part in prophecy, and to claim that the church is now Israel, removes foundational points of reference and opens the door to distortion and confusion both as to Israel and the church."[xxiv] In another article entitled Jews, Gentiles & the Church, Hunt states, "The preservation of the Israelis as an identifiable people, in spite of the proverbial 'wandering Jews'' 2,500-year Diaspora from the promised land, and the establishment of Israel in 1948, constitute irrefutable proof for the existence of the 'God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob' and the validity of His Holy Word. Therefore, to insist that Israel no longer has any claim to her ancient homeland, and that her return thereto is a mere coincidence, denies one of the most persuasive arguments for belief in God and the gospel."[xxv]


In his classic book The Late Great Planet Earth, Hal Lindsey says succinctly, "Some theologians of the liberal school still insist that prophecy has no literal meaning for today and that it cannot be taken seriously. It is difficult to understand this view if one carefully weighs the case of Israel's rebirth as a nation."[xxvi]


Dr. Dwight Pentecost, long-time professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, summarizes:
"Thus we conclude that the church is a part of a kingdom of the God of heaven, falling in the inter-advent period. It was an unrevealed mystery in the Old Testament, but it was necessitated by Israel's rejection of the Messiah, which caused the postponement of the promised and covenant form of the kingdom, which will be inaugurated by the appearance of the King of kings and Lord of lords at His second advent (emphasis added)." [xxvii]


Recently while reading E.W. Bullinger's The Witness of the Stars (originally published in 1893), I encountered the following:
"If we ask how long [Jerusalem] shall continue to be 'trodden down' ? how long it will be before Israel shall again possess their city and their land ? - the answer brings us at once to the heart of our subject."[xxviii]
And again, remember this was first published in 1893:
"Though Jews are returning thither in ever-increasing numbers, they are only strangers there. They have as yet no independent position, nor can they make any treaties. But when the 'times' shall end, it means that they will have a position of sufficient independence to be able to make a treaty or league with the coming Prince (Dan. ix. 27); and then the course of events will bring on another treading down of 1260 literal 'days,' which will thus have had a fore-shadowing fulfillment in years! This is written in Rev. xi. 2. And to save us from any misunderstanding, the time is given, not in days, but in ?months' (emphasis added)."[xxix]


Not that I should have been surprised, but I was delighted by the idea that Bullinger was anticipating Isaiah 66:8 (the rebirth of Israel) 55 years before the fact!

Replacement Theology and Islam
Our discussion of Replacement Theology concludes with a brief examination of Islam. Rabbi Jeff Adler of Shaarey Yeshua Messianic Congregation (Indianapolis, IN) told me flat out, "Replacement theology is the heart of Islam."[xxx] After all, Muslims teach that it was Ishmael, not Isaac, who was Abraham's 'Son of Promise' offered on Mount Moriah. Thus God's blessings allegedly came down through the Arabian offspring of Ishmael. Hal Lindsey notes in The Everlasting Hatred, the Roots of Jihad that "in their zeal to replace Israel, the Muslim's most serious charge against the Jews is that they corrupted the revelation God gave them."[xxxi] Islam teaches that the Koran abrogates the Bible of the Jews and Christians, and that it is the full and final revelation of Allah - who is supposedly the same god as the God of the Bible. In making these claims, Islam clearly attempts to usurp God's promises and covenants with the Jews.


At its core, Islam is inherently anti-Semitic. Let the Koran speak for itself:
Sura 2:89-90 And when there came to them a Book from Allah verifying that which they [Jews] have, and aforetime they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieve, but when there came to them (Prophet) that which they did not recognize, they [Jews] disbelieved in him; so Allah's curse is on the unbelievers.
Evil is that for which they have sold their souls-- that they should deny what Allah has revealed, out of envy that Allah should send down of His grace on whomsoever of His servants He pleases; so they have made themselves deserving of wrath upon wrath, and there is a disgraceful punishment for the unbelievers.
Sura 2:96 And you will most certainly find them [Jews] the greediest of men for life (greedier) than even those who are polytheists.


Sura 3:112 Abasement is made to cleave to them [Jews] wherever they are found, except under a covenant with Allah and a covenant with men, and they have become deserving of wrath from Allah, and humiliation is made to cleave to them; this is because they disbelieved in the communications of Allah and slew the prophets unjustly; this is because they disobeyed and exceeded the limits.
Sura 4:46 .but Allah has cursed them [Jews] on account of their unbelief, so they do not believe but a little.
Sura 5:51 O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.
Sura 5:60 Say: Shall I inform you of (him who is) worse than this in retribution from Allah? [Worse is he (Jews)] whom Allah has cursed and brought His wrath upon, and of whom He made apes and swine, and he who served the Shaitan; these [Jews] are worse in place and more erring from the straight path.
What's more, the Islamic Hadith (traditions attributed to the prophet Mohammed) state unequivocally:
"The Resurrection of the dead will not come until the Muslims will war with the Jews and the Muslims will kill them.the trees and rocks will say, 'O Muslim, here is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'"[xxxii]


Unbelievably, the destruction of the Jews is a pre-requisite for the Islamic version of the Last Days. No wonder the PA charter openly calls for the destruction of Israel. No wonder Saddam Hussein launched scuds at Israel in 1991. No wonder Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is openly denying the holocaust and calling for Israel to be wiped off the face of the map. No wonder Ahmadinejad believes he is on a mission from Allah to cause a global conflagration that will hasten the emergence of the 12th Imam - the Islamic leader who will lead the Last Days charge against the Jews. No wonder Islamic radicals dream of the day when they will push the Jews into the Mediterranean Sea.


One of the most powerful films I have viewed is Honest Reporting's 'Relentless.' This film documents the indoctrination of hate (against Jews) perpetrated on young children at PA funded schools. How my blood boiled when I saw a five year old holding a machine gun and telling the camera that his highest goal in life was to kill Jews. This evil is straight out of the pit of hell.


I have heard it said that Satan believes if he can annihilate every Jew on the face of the earth, he can show God to be a liar and therefore derail the Second Coming. Matthew 23:39 seems to support this idea. Jesus Himself says that He will not return until the Jews say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. If there are no Jews to cry out, then Jesus cannot return. (At least that's the idea.)


According to the estimates, Hitler succeeded in killing at least 6 million European Jews, roughly one-third of the Jewish population world wide. Zechariah 13:8 indicates that the coming antichrist will succeed in killing two-thirds of the Jews living in his day:
And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.


Without getting into the specifics concerning the coming world leader, clearly anti-Semitism will be one of his secret doctrines, though he may arrive on the scene as a pseudo-Zionist. Prophetically, he must allow the re-building of the Jewish Temple and in so doing in may appear as though he has achieved the long-awaited peace in the Middle East. However, the coming world leader will eventually begin to exude a spirit of anti-Semitism that will dwarf past Crusades, Inquisitions, Pogroms, Holocausts, and Jihads. Whether he will be connected with Islam, apostate Christianity or both remains to be seen. But one thing is clear, the coming antichrist will hate the Jews and he will likely persuade the world to do the same by espousing some degenerate form of Replacement Theology.


Conclusion
Satan will employ every resource at his disposal towards the destruction of the Jewish people, but ultimately his efforts will not succeed. The Lord has already set aside for Himself a remnant (Zechariah 12:10, 13:9; Matthew 23:39; Romans 11:26; Revelation 7:4, etc.), and that which He has spoken shall not return unto Him void. As Christians, we are in the midst of concentrated Spiritual warfare. We are called to stand against the wiles of the Devil and not to be ignorant of his devices. Let us endeavor to expose the theologically justified anti-Semitism lurking secretly and insidiously behind the deception that is Replacement Theology. Psalm 102:16:
When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
End Notes
[i] Dr. Thomas Ice, What is Replacement Theology? (Pre-Trib Research Center: 2003).
http://www.pre-trib....view.php/?id=249
[ii] Bill Koenig: http://www.watch.org...rtn=/index.html
[iii] Ibid[iv] Grant Jeffrey, Prince of Darkness (Toronto, Ontario: Frontier Research Publications, 1994), 127.
[v] Ice, What is Replacement Theology?, http://www.pre-trib....view.php?id=249.
[vi] Chuck Missler, How to Study the Bible (Koinonia House, 2006), MP3.
[vii] Ibid.
[viii] John Hagee, Jerusalem Countdown (Lake Mary, Florida: FrontLine, 2006), 73.
[ix] Ice, What is Replacement Theology?, http://www.pre-trib....view.php?id=249.
[x] Chuck Missler, The Prodigal Heirs (Koinonia House, 1995), 66/40 Radio Broadcast.
[xi] Dave Hunt, A Woman Rides the Beast (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1994), 265.
[xii] Ice, What is Replacement Theology?, http://www.pre-trib....view.php?id=249.
[xiii] Dr. J. Randall Price, Is the Modern State of Israel Prophetically Significant?
http://www.worldofth...significant.pdf/
[xiv] Hunt, Woman Rides Beast, 292.
[xv] http://www.pcusa.org...res/ovt0432.htm
[xvi] Jeffrey, Prince of Darkness, 127.
[xvii] http://www.state.gov.../2003/20062.htm
[xviii] Dr. Price, Israel Prophetically Significant?
http://www.worldofth...significant.pdf/
[xix] Ibid.
[xx] Dr. Thomas Ice, Christian Zionism (Pre-Trib Research Center: 2003).
http://www.pre-trib....-view.php/?id=18
[xxi] Joel C. Rosenberg, Epicenter (Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2006), 26.
[xxii] Jeffrey, Prince of Darkness, 127.
[xxiii] Dr. Ice, What is Replacement Theology?: http://www.pre-trib....view.php?id=249
[xxiv] Dave Hunt, The Kingdom of God: http://www.theberean.../1988/sep88.php
[xxv] Dave Hunt, Jews, Gentiles & the Church: http://www.theberean.../1989/sep89.php
[xxvi] Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1970), 48-49.
[xxvii] Dr. Dwight Pentecost, The Relationship of the Church to the Kingdom of God (Pre-Trib Research Center: 2003).
http://www.pre-trib....-view.php/?id=98
[xxviii] E.W. Bullinger, The Witness of the Stars (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregal Publications, 1893), 184.
[xxix] Ibid., 191.
[xxx] Rabbi Jeff Adler, response to personal email.
[xxxi] Hal Lindsey, The Everlasting Hatred, the Roots of Jihad (Murrieta, California: Oracle House Publishing, 2002), 45.
[xxxii] Ibid., 125.
--------------------------
Selected Bibliography
Rabbi Jeff Adler, Shaarey Yeshua Messianic Congregation (Indianapolis, IN).
E.W. Bullinger, The Witness of the Stars (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregal Publications, 1893).
John Hagee, Jerusalem Countdown (Lake Mary, Florida: FrontLine, 2006).
Dave Hunt, A Woman Rides the Beast (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1994)
Dave Hunt, Jews, Gentiles & the Church:
http://www.theberean.../1989/sep89.php
Dave Hunt, The Kingdom of God:
http://www.theberean.../1988/sep88.php
Dr. Thomas Ice, Christian Zionism (Pre-Trib Research Center: 2003).
http://www.pre-trib....-view.php/?id=18
Dr. Thomas Ice, What is Replacement Theology? (Pre-Trib Research Center: 2003).
http://www.pre-trib....view.php/?id=249
Grant Jeffrey, Prince of Darkness (Toronto, Ontario: Frontier Research Publications, 1994).
Bill Koenig: http://www.watch.org...rtn=/index.html
Hal Lindsey, The Everlasting Hatred, the Roots of Jihad (Murrieta, California: Oracle House Publishing, 2002).
Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1970).
Chuck Missler, How to Study the Bible (Koinonia House, 2006), MP3.
Chuck Missler, The Prodigal Heirs (Koinonia House, 1995), 66/40 Radio Broadcast.
Dr. Dwight Pentecost, The Relationship of the Church to the Kingdom of God (Pre-Trib Research Center: 2003).
http://www.pre-trib....-view.php?id=98
Dr. J. Randall Price, Is the Modern State of Israel Prophetically Significant? http://www.worldofth...significant.pdf/
Joel C. Rosenberg, Epicenter (Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2006).
Relentless: The Struggle for Peace in the Middle East: Updated Edition (An HonestReporting.com Film, 2003).
http://www.pcusa.org...res/ovt0432.htm
http://www.state.gov.../2003/20062.htm

Christ at the Checkpoint. Part II

Christ at the Checkpoint. Part I

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Isaac And Ishmael, Then And Now

Isaac And Ishmael, Then And Now

Perspective by Jack Kelley http://gracethrufaith.com/
After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.”(Genesis 15:1-4)
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne.(Genesis 16:1-4, 15)
Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. (Genesis 21:1-3)
But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”
The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. I will make the son of the maidservant into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”(Genesis 21:9-13)
Abraham was 75 years old when God called him, about 80 when God promised him a son, 86 when Ishmael was born (Gen. 16:16) and 100 at the time of Isaac’s birth. (Gen. 21:5) This made Ishmael 14 years older than Isaac, and about 16 or 17 when Isaac was weaned. When he made fun of Isaac, Sarah demanded that Abraham get rid of him.
That snapshot seems to set the tone for our understanding of Ishmael. God had told Hagar that her son would be a “wild ass” of a man with his hand against every man and every man’s hand against him. (Gen. 16:12) He was bigger, stronger, and older than his helpless baby brother, and yet he thought it sport to mock him.


We can imagine that the jealousy between Sarah and Hagar had its effect on Ishmael and served to frame his view of Isaac from the beginning. And it doesn’t take too much of a stretch to believe that Ishmael was told repeatedly that Isaac was God’s choice to become Abraham’s heir although Ishmael was the first born and, at least in his opinion, the rightful heir. When Ishmael and Hagar were sent away to fend for themselves the sense of abandonment likely made it difficult for Ishmael to trust anyone for a long time. I can almost hear him thinking that his life was a mistake, and wishing he had never been born. No wonder he didn’t get along with anyone.

This feeling of being an unworthy outcast matured into a resentment so strong that it permeated Ishmael’s very soul and from that day to this the descendants of Ishmael have stood against the descendants of Isaac. His anger had given the devil a foothold that grew into a stronghold so powerful that it has lasted through all the generations since. All this happened because Abraham and Sarah grew impatient with God and tried to fulfill His promise on their own.


Once More, With Feeling
A generation later, Esau felt similarly disenfranchised by Jacob’s manipulation of Isaac. This was the case even though Jacob only received that which he had earlier purchased from Esau, who in a moment of extreme hunger traded his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew as though it was a mere trinket. Esau was so angry with his father, who refused to reverse the transaction, that he did the one thing that he knew would hurt Isaac the most. He married Malhalath, a daughter of Ishmael. (Gen. 28:8-9) How he and Ishmael must have railed against Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who in two consecutive generations had humiliated them in the matter of their presumed inheritance. Each recounting of the events added bricks and mortar to the stronghold the devil was building in their minds.


It had been God’s plan all along for His promise to Abraham to be fulfilled through Isaac in Jacob. When Sarah took matters into her own hand after waiting impatiently for six years to give her husband an heir, God promised to make Ishmael’s descendants into a great nation with 12 rulers just as he had in mind for Jacob. “But,” He said, “My covenant I will establish with Isaac.” (Gen. 17:20-21)


And Esau’s descendants were given land east of the Jordan River that the Israelites were not allowed to take as their own. (Deut. 2:4-6) But Ishmael didn’t inherit the covenant position and Esau didn’t get the Promised Land, and to them what they received, though generous, probably seemed like 2nd best. Far from encouraging them to forgive and forget, their anger was further inflamed.


The land given to Esau became known as Edom because of its spectacular red rock mountains and, until their rebellion against God, Esau’s descendants thrived there. The final straw came when the Edomites took advantage of God’s punishment of Israel during the Babylonian wars. Thinking to finally get the coveted Promised Land, they sided with Nebuchadnezzar and cut off the Jews’ escape from the Babylonian armies, ambushing the fleeing Israelites and looting their homes. (Obadiah 1:10-14) As a result, Edom was destroyed to the last person, and the Nabateans, another of Ishmael’s descendants, took their land.


We’ll Return After This Break
During Israel’s 1900 year absence from the world scene, the sons of Ishmael grew into the family of nations that God had promised, but the hostility remained even though the Promised Land was seemingly theirs for the taking. When Mohammed, a descendant of Ishmael’s, failed to convert the Jews in the region to his new religion, he declared war against them and the ancient hostility was born anew. All the old feelings of resentment were re-kindled, and even though the armies of Islam embarked upon an era of conquest that eventually took them all the way to eastern France, they maintained a special hostility toward the Jews.


And then the unimaginable happened. For the third time they were required to step aside in favor of the sons of Israel. God was bringing His people back to the land He had promised to Abraham so long ago. Never mind that the land had been pretty much abandoned for much of the preceding 1900 years, it had been Moslem land and now it was being given back to their sworn enemies, the Jews. It violated their sense of ownership, tainted though it was, and it violated the promise of their religion. Mohammed himself had told them that any land conquered in the name of Allah would never be lost again to the infidels.


Of course by now the majority of Mohammed’s followers weren’t sons of Ishmael, but Persians, Egyptians, Babylonians, and Assyrians, to use their Biblical names. But their historical hatred of the Jews had been kept alive through the religion they all shared in common. And most of the returning Jews weren’t of the original 12 tribes but the descendants of Europeans who had converted to Judaism over the centuries. Only a remnant of today’s Jews can trace their ancestry to Jacob’s 12 sons. But it’s that remnant that validates Israel’s claim under the Abrahamic covenant in God’s eyes.


Therefore, the wars of today aren’t between Ishmaelites and Israelites, but between Moslems and Jews. The family feud has become a battle of religions. Will the God of the Jews prevail, or will it be the god of Islam, for they are not one and the same. The God who inhabits eternity created the land and gave it to Abraham in an everlasting covenant. The god of this world had taken it as his own and refuses to give it up. It’s the most hotly contested piece of real estate in the entire universe, and the contest has both its origin and its resolution in the spiritual realm, not in the assembly halls of human governments.


So now we’ve come full circle. Ishmael, represented by the Moslems, is older, bigger, and stronger, but Isaac, represented by the Jews, is still the child of the promise. And as we’ll soon see, what God has promised, He performs. Against all odds, Ishmael will once again be driven away, and God will use the occasion to re-instate His ancient covenant with the children of Israel, biological or not. It’s another giant signpost that the End of the Age is upon us. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 01-21-12
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