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, June 30, 2013

Hot enough for ya? Extreme heat plagues the American Southwest

Reblogged from Elizabeth Prata´s the-end-time.blogspot.com

In a continuing downward progression of record-breaking, unprecedented and impacting weather, the western US is baking in an unusual scorching heat.

On Twitter, Shawn Reynolds of the Weather Center Live on the Weather Channel (@WCL_Shawn) posted the following on Twitter yesterday: "PIC: thermometer at Weather Channel's Mike Seidel's location in Vegas shows reading of over 140°"

Drudge had the following photo and headline for the main news item on his page:

This is the forecast:

Unfortunately, we have had our first fatality due to this freak heat.

Record-setting heat wave turns fatal in Southwest
"A record-setting heat wave will continue baking the Southwest on Sunday and into the work week.  Already, the hot spell has set records in cities such as Phoenix (119 degrees) and Lancaster, California (111 degrees). Las Vegas tied its record high of 115 degrees Saturday.  Civic and emergency officials throughout the Southwest say if there was ever a time to worry, this would be it. The reason isn't just the oppressive heat that is plaguing the region: It's the fact it is expected to hang around, and possibly even get worse, over the next few days. Man helps the homeless survive the heat  The heat may have led to the death of an elderly man in Las Vegas. Paramedics found the man dead in his home, which did not have air conditioning, Las Vegas Fire & Rescue spokesman Tim Szymanski said."

I'm always hesitant to assign a particular event to God's judgment. I don't like saying "The freak heat is because of America's stance on homosexuality", because I don't know the mind of God. However, I do know His standards and I do know His past actions because we have the bible. One only has to read the Old & New Testament to understand that God hates sin, and He warns people individually and He warns nations when they are rebelling.

We also know that God is in control of the weather. Earlier this week, when unprecedented hail fell in Singapore, I'd said, "Though satan can be the originator of some weather disasters, (Job 1:9-12, 19), he can only do so at the Lord's permission. Ultimately, all weather is in the hands of the Creator."

It is the Lord who sends the scorching east wind to demonstrate to a rebellious Jonah that He is in control:

"When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”" (Jonah 4:8).

God uses the scorching wind to accomplish His purposes -

"The LORD will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that anyone can cross over in sandals." Isaiah 11:15).

We know for sure that the bible says that a prophecy will come about that will involve heat. That prophecy is not being fulfilled now, but I'd like us to please think on this present scorching heat as a shadow-picture of what will come. What will come will be far worse.

"The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory." (Revelation 16:8-9).

Newsman Matt Drudge wrote, "Vegas to hit its highest temp ever recorded this weekend? Drunk/420 tourists failing on blvd will literally be fried."

Please keep in mind that in this present Age of Grace, the discomforts we experience are a picnic compared to the judgments to come. For today, 120 degree heat will be a memory when the Tribulation comes and heat that soars to 150 degrees or even 180 or 200 happen. It is coming, and that means only two things:

1. "and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”" (Mark 1:15)

2. "And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Malachi Speaks Again. Part 3

This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley

We continue our study of the Book of Malachi with chapter 3. As we’ll see the Lord isn’t finished with His criticism of Israel’s behavior, and as was the case with the previous chapters some of His complaints about them could just as easily be made about us.

Malachi Speaks Again Part 1
Malachi Speaks Again Part 2

Malachi 3

“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.
But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.
“So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty (Malachi 3:1-5).

Here’s another Messianic prophecy from the Old Testament. First, the Lord would send his messenger to prepare the way. This was fulfilled in the person of John the Baptist who called himself “A voice of one calling in the desert, prepare the way for the Lord make straight paths for Him” (Matt. 3:3). He was quoting Isaiah 40:3.

The Bible is silent about the Lord’s formative years. From His birth to age 30 the only thing we know about is an incident at the Temple when He was 12 (Luke 2:41-52). Then shortly after John began warning the people to get ready He appeared, the one they had long desired.

But He wasn’t what they expected. Instead of being a warrior king like David who would throw off the yoke of foreign rule and restore their kingdom, He was more concerned about their own sinfulness. His focus on the errors of their religious practices angered the priests and although many among the common people loved Him, the leadership rejected Him. They presented trumped up charges against Him to the Romans and had Him executed as a traitor never realizing that all the time He was the one putting them on trial. Unlike theirs His verdict was just, and the same Romans who had officiated at His execution oversaw the total destruction of their nation.

Today, the state of the world is similar in many ways to that of Israel in the Lord’s time, and in our study of Malachi’s previous chapters we’ve laid out the case for judgment. But when the Lord returns again there will be no doubt about who He is.
At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations (people) of the Earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory (Matt. 24:30).

They will mourn because they will finally realize that the things they had heard and rejected about Him are true, and now it will be too late. Their cries for mercy will go unheard. In the series of judgments that follow His return, believers will be ushered into the Kingdom while unbelievers will be removed from the planet to be held for judgment (Matt. 24:45-Matt. 25:46).

Malachi’s prophecy about the priests will come to pass as well. Ezekiel 44:15-16 tells us that of all the descendants of Levi, only those of the family of Zadok had remained faithful when Israel went astray. Therefore only they will be allowed to stand before the Lord and offer sacrifices to Him in the Millennium. And only they will be allowed to enter His sanctuary to minister before Him.

Breaking Covenant by Withholding Tithes

“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty (Malachi 3:6-12).

This first sentence should have immediately put to naught all the claims of replacement theology. It’s the false teaching that says when Israel rejected the Messiah, God transferred all the promises He had made them to the Church and has no more use for the Jewish people. But it should be obvious that while they lost their land for a time, God’s people have never been destroyed. Now He has brought them back to their land physically, and as soon as they return to Him spiritually He will return to them just like He promised. This isn’t the only time God said this. Jeremiah 31:35-37 and Ezekiel 36:22-30 are other examples among many.

In Deut. 6:16 the Lord had told His people not to put Him to the test like their parents had. But the issue of tithing was so important to Him that He dared them to test Him in this matter. In doing so He established an ongoing cause and effect relationship between their giving and His blessing.

Christians who don’t believe in tithing like to point out that we’re not under the Law so challenges like the one God had Malachi issue don’t apply to us. What they don’t realize is while things like tithing were “have to’s” in the Old Testament, they’ve become “want to’s” in the New Testament. These folks like to remind us that there’s no New Testament commandment to tithe on our income and they’re correct. But while Malachi said Israel had to tithe to restore the loss of material blessing, both Jesus and Paul said they want the Church to tithe to gain the benefit of material blessing.  Jesus made it clear that the cause and effect relationship between our giving and His blessing still exists when He said,
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).

Paul confirmed this cause and effect relationship, saying whoever sows generously will also reap generously. First he made it clear that we’re not under compulsion to give. Moreover, our attitude toward giving is important because God loves cheerful givers (2 Cor. 9:6-7). Then he said that forming the habit of giving generously and cheerfully will result in our being made rich in every way so we can be generous on every occasion (2 Cor. 9:11).

Israel Speaks Arrogantly Against God

“You have spoken arrogantly against me,” says the Lord.
“Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’
“You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What do we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty? But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly evildoers prosper, and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it’”(Malachi 3:13-15).

In effect they were denying the cause and effect relationship God had challenged them to test. They claimed to have experienced no benefit from serving Him while evil people around them prospered. They were accusing the “evildoers” who had accepted God’s challenge, and received its blessing, of putting one over on God. Like immature children they were tattling on others in an attempt to deflect the blame from themselves.
In Psalm 37 God had anticipated this complaint and provided His answer.
Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun (Psalm 37:1-6)

People who write to me complaining that they have started giving more, but haven’t seen any blessing, are missing the point. Generous and cheerful givers don’t expect anything in return, they’re giving out of gratitude for what they’ve already received. While they trust the Lord’s promise to bless them, it’s not the reason for their giving.

Giving more with the expectation of receiving more is not being generous, it’s being selfish. And unless we can learn to be grateful for the little we already have, we’ll never be grateful for the abundance He wants us to have (John 10:10). Besides, we’re not expressing our gratitude because God has made us rich, we’re expressing our gratitude because God has saved our eternal life.

The Faithful Remnant

Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.
“On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not (Malachi 3:16-18).

Letting the people know about the scroll of remembrance accomplished two things. First it told them that those who improperly took advantage of His test hadn’t gotten away with anything. By saying He could hear the conversations of the people who feared Him, He was implying that He could also hear the conversations of the people who didn’t.

But more importantly, it answered their complaint that there was no benefit in serving the Lord. The people who sincerely feared Him and honored His name would be spared on the judgment day, and would dwell in His Kingdom, and they would know that the Lord is able to distinguish between the righteous and the wicked.

In 2 Tim 4:8 Paul spoke of a crown of righteousness that the Lord will award him on “that day”. He said he wouldn’t be the only believer who will receive one. All those who long for the Lord’s appearing will also qualify. This implies that some believers will qualify for this crown and others won’t.

You may wonder why we should be rewarded simply for wanting Him to come back for us. I think its because we who long for His appearing are demonstrating that we “get it.” We get that even if we have a good life here, it doesn’t compare to the life that’s coming and we can’t wait for it to begin. We get that it doesn’t matter if evil doers seem to prosper, we take delight in the Lord and will receive the desire of our heart. 

We get that we live in a world that openly celebrates its rebellion against God. But we know that this world will soon be gone and the next one will exist forever. We get that in this world we’ll have trouble, but we take heart because Jesus has overcome the world, and we know He has promised to come to take us out of it. In other words, we get that the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for judgment while continuing their punishment (1 Peter 2:9). Chapter 4 next time. See you then 06-29-13.

Sunday Martyr Moment: The coming persecution to the west

Reblogged from Elizabeth Prata´s the-end-time.blogspot.com

Foxe's Book of Martyrs. According to this summary from Christian Book Summaries,

Writing in the mid-1500s, John Foxe was living in the midst of intense religious persecution at the hands of the dominant Roman Catholic Church. In graphic detail, he offers accounts of Christians being martyred for their belief in Jesus Christ, describing how God gave them extraordinary courage and stamina to endure unthinkable torture.

From the same link, the book's purpose was fourfold:

  • Showcase the courage of true believers who have willingly taken a stand for Jesus Christ throughout the ages, even if it meant death,
  • Demonstrate the grace of God in the lives of those martyred for their faith,
  • Expose the ruthlessness of religious and political leaders as they sought to suppress those with differing beliefs,
  • Celebrate the courage of those who risked their lives to translate the Bible into the common language of the people.
Last Sunday I'd ended the first phase of the persecutions with the death of Apostle John. He was the last of the first generation martyrs. In Foxe's Book it is described thus: "Chapter One: History of Christian Martyrs to the First General Persecutions Under Nero".

In the course of that first wave, Paul and Peter were martyred. In summary, Foxe wrote, "To their names may be added, Erastus, chamberlain of Corinth; Aristarchus, the Macedonian, and Trophimus, an Ephesians, converted by St. Paul, and fellow-laborer with him, Joseph, commonly called Barsabas, and Ananias, bishop of Damascus; each of the Seventy."

Under Nero's persecution after the Great Fire at Rome of 67AD, the church at Rome was scattered, and this blew the seeds of the Gospel outward toward Asia. (1 Peter 1:1). The 7 Churches of Asia Minor were founded at that time. However, it wasn't long before persecution followed the Christians at the cities far from Rome, and this is what Peter meant when he wrote, 'you are being tested in various trials' in 1 Peter 1:6.

This first wave of the original generation continued under Domitian. Foxe's summary again, "Nicodemus, a benevolent Christian of some distinction, suffered at Rome during the rage of Domitian's persecution. Protasius and Gervasius were martyred at Milan. Timothy was the celebrated disciple of Paul, and bishop of Ephesus, where he zealously governed the Church until A.D. 97. At this period, as the pagans were about to celebrate a feast called Catagogion, Timothy, meeting the procession, severely reproved them for their ridiculous idolatry, which so exasperated the people that they fell upon him with their clubs, and beat him in so dreadful a manner that he expired of the bruises two days later."

After Apostle John died in around 98AD, The Third Persecution, Under Trajan, A.D. 108, began.

"Pliny was a governor of a Roman province at the beginning of the Second Century.  He was monitoring those who identified themselves as Christians in order to make report to the Emperor Trajan.  He wrote to Trajan around 100 AD." Foxe wrote of Pliny's letter to Trajan,

"In the third persecution Pliny the Second, a man learned and famous, seeing the lamentable slaughter of Christians, and moved therewith to pity, wrote to Trajan, certifying him that there were many thousands of them daily put to death, of which none did any thing contrary to the Roman laws worthy of persecution. "The whole account they gave of their crime or error (whichever it is to be called) amounted only to this-viz. that they were accustomed on a stated day to meet before daylight, and to repeat together a set form of prayer to Christ as a God, and to bind themselves by an obligation-not indeed to commit wickedness; but, on the contrary-never to commit theft, robbery, or adultery, never to falsify their word, never to defraud any man: after which it was their custom to separate, and reassemble to partake in common of a harmless meal."


Hatred of Christians is coming to America. Persecution is coming. Christians have always suffered horribly in all the world throughout all ages. Christians in America have not. We are the cushiest, most comfortable generation, and as a result have grown casual to the Gospel and irreverent toward Christ. The charge of Jesus to the church at Laodicea could well be taken as a charge against us today:

"‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked." (Revelation 3:15-17).

It is the church at Laodicea which Jesus asks to open the door and let Him in when He knocks. It is the church at Laodicea that has left Jesus off the list of ingredients when they play at church.

Of the true church, Dr. John MacArthur wrote this week to his subscribers, "It's no surprise that true Christians are feeling pressures we've never before experienced. Believers today face open hostility simply for what we believe."

 [Ed Note: Brings to mind Pliny's perplexity of the hatred leveled against Christians who were simply praying, vowing to do good and having harmless meals together...]. Continuing MacArthur-

"Our gospel, our values, our priorities, our doctrine, what we love and what we hate what we live for and what we die for- our lives are more permanently and comprehensively at odds with the world. What's more, the situation can and will still get worse. I've commented several times recently that I believe that hostility toward Christians in the West will eventually give way to full-blown persecution, just as it already has in other parts of the world."
"As the pressure on Christianity has increased, it has been interesting to see so many supposed Christian institutions caving in and surrendering. We're now finding out what people really believe and who is willing to stand for truth. Christian organizations are having to ask themselves, What are we going to say about immorality, premarital sex, drunkenness, and homosexuality? Sadly, many are waffling."
Taking a break for a moment from Dr. MacArthur's letter, here is an exact example of a waffling pastor. Mark Driscoll, who seems so outspoken on everything else, declined to comment on the DOMA ruling. Christian Post reports,

"Outspoken megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll, who has more than 389,000 followers on Twitter, stuck to tweeting paraphrases from the Bible and promoting current Mars Hill Church sermons on Wednesday morning and afternoon. When contacted by CP, spokesperson Justin Dean said that the Seattle-based Mars Hill Church lead pastor would not be commenting on the Supreme Court decisions." (source)

Dr. MacArthur continued in his letter,

"Our view is that the more heated the battle becomes the clearer we need to become on our biblical convictions. The true church will always embrace persecution when it comes, rather than run from it. Suffering for Christ is a blessing from God with purifying effects for true believers. When suffering comes, the church actually thrives. Of course that doesn't mean that facing hostility and persecution is easy, or that it doesn't raise practical questions about the present and the future- no Christians cherish the thought of their children or grandchildren suffering..."
The call for today is to remember the martyrs even as hostility and persecution comes to us in the West. Align yourself with the stance that Dr MacArthur outlined:

"As other organizations seek to evolve with the times, insulate themselves from hostility, and accommodate the culture, our plan is to actively stake out the biblical positions everywhere we can. We are going to articulate biblical truth more clearly and assertively than ever. In fact, as the culture continues to degenerate and biblical standards are challenged, every new attempt to undermine Scripture is going to elicit from us a loving- but clear-confrontation."
"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you." (1 Peter 4:12)

One of the reason above that Foxe stated he wrote his book of martyrs is to "Demonstrate the grace of God in the lives of those martyred for their faith." I plea for you to become solid in your stance and firm in your conviction to demonstrate that very grace. The Age of Grace is coming to an end, and the people who are not living in Grace need to see it more than ever. They won't see it if we hide, waffle, or are unclear. Get clear on your convictions and the biblical worldview we need to have. Stand on the rock.

I started these Sunday Martyr Moments on April 14, 2013, several months ago, because I could see the need coming to re-connect with what real persecution is and to take inspiration from those who died for the faith without reneging on their convictions. It is doubtless coming to us in America.

Let us continue in the faith, a long, unbroken line of glory from the first martyr to the last, praising Jesus under all circumstances. Let us gird our loins and stand firm on the Gospel.

Ignatius was a beloved father in the faith in the time of Trajan's persecution. He said, "Now I begin to be a disciple. I care for nothing, of visible or invisible things, so that I may but win Christ. Let fire and the cross, let the companies of wild beasts, let breaking of bones and tearing of limbs, let the grinding of the whole body, and all the malice of the devil, come upon me; be it so, only may I win Christ Jesus!"

He was eventually convicted and thrown to the lions. Ignatius "heard the lions roaring, saying: "I am the wheat of Christ: I am going to be ground with the teeth of wild beasts, that I may be found pure bread."

May you be found to be pure bread, with no leaven, for the name of Jesus and His eternal glory.

DISTRESS OF NATIONS: Middle East on the Brink as Egypt, Syria and Sudan quickly deteriorate.

DISTRESS OF NATIONS: Middle East on the Brink as Egypt, Syria and Sudan quickly deteriorate.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Great Pause

Reblogged from http://gracethrufaith.com/popular-posts-from-the-past/the-great-pause/ A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

Surely you have heard about the administration (dispensation) of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. (Ephesians 3:2-3)

One of the most difficult things for someone unfamiliar with dispensational theology to understand is why Israel needs to exist at all in the last days, let alone rebuild their Temple. A recent discussion with a theology professor from a well known West Coast Christian school made this clear.

We were talking about our respective views of the End Times. When I mentioned the coming Temple and Israel’s re-awakening into their Old Covenant relationship, he looked at me like I was from another planet. He graduated from one of the main line denominational seminaries where he had been immersed in liberal theology, so what little he knows about the end times is all allegorical. He had never been taught anything like what I was saying.

Why on Earth, he asked, would God bring Israel back when the Church has replaced Israel in His eyes? And even if He did, why would He bring them into an Old Covenant relationship when He’s told the Church that since the cross the Old Covenant no longer applies?

Good Questions

Most Christians can’t answer these questions, and even among those who take the Bible literally, many can only say , “Because the Bible says so.” They can’t explain why it says so.

It’s only when you understand that the Age of Grace didn’t end the Age of Law, but only interrupted it seven years short of its allotted time, that it all becomes clear. The Church Age was not intended to be God’s next step in His progressive revelation to man.  It was a complete departure, unlike anything He had done before before.  It began when the Church was born and will end at the rapture, never to be repeated.  Here’s what happened.

Near the end of the Babylonian captivity the Angel Gabriel told Daniel that Israel was being given 490 years to complete 6 tasks.
“Seventy ‘sevens’ (490 years) are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy (place). (Daniel 9:24)

When the Lord was crucified, 483 of those years had past. Remember, that’s why the disciples were astonished when He told them the Temple would soon be destroyed (Matt. 24:2). It’s also why, 40 days after the Resurrection, they asked if He was was going to restore the Kingdom to Israel now. (Acts 1:6) They thought they were only 7 years away from the Kingdom Age. Ten days later, on Pentecost, the indeterminate Age of the Church began, with the Age of Law still 7 years short of its prophesied end.

After 20 years had passed, the Lord’s half-brother James, who was the head of the Church in Jerusalem at the time, explained that Israel had been set aside while the Lord took from among the Gentiles a people for Himself (the Church). After that he would turn again to Israel and pick up where He had left off (Acts 15:13-18). About 18 years after that the Temple was destroyed and has never been rebuilt. In 135 AD the nation ceased to exist in any form. The Roman Emperor Hadrian destroyed what was left of Jerusalem, built a new city called Aelia Capitolina on its ruins, and forbade any Jew from entering it. 

But the Lord’s promise still stands. As soon as He has taken the Church, He’ll turn again to Israel to complete the last 7 years of the Age of Law, also known as Daniel’s 70th Week.
These facts from both the Bible and history completely undermine any arguments for the validity of replacement theology. They explain why Israel has to exist in the End Times and why the Jews will need a Temple.

The Great Pause

While Pentecost was the official beginning of the Age of Grace, it didn’t signal the end of the Age of Law, as so many in the Church wrongly assume. The Age of Grace is only a Great Pause while the Lord pursues His Church, something He intended to do all along, but had only divulged in a general way in the past.

Speaking to His Messiah, the Lord had said, “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6)

When you understand the Great Pause, lots of other things fall into place. We’ve already discussed the re-birth of the Nation and the re-built Temple. Israel had to be re-born and will have to become a covenant people again in order to complete their final 7 years. This is what makes their re-birth such a powerful sign that the Great Pause is about to end. 

Israel has to exist again in order to complete the 7 years remaining in the Age of Law, and then receive the promised Kingdom.  It also explains the return to animal sacrifice during this time. This is the way things were before the Great Pause began, and the way they’ll have to be after it ends. Although people have always been saved by faith, during the Age of Law their faith has to be evidenced by obedience to the Law.

Understanding the Great Pause also helps us see why the Rapture of the Church has to precede the final 7 years. The purpose of the Great Pause is so the Lord can take from among the Gentiles a people for Himself. The Greek word translated “take” in Acts 15:14 is “lambano”. A look at the primary meanings of lambano reveals that the intent of the word is to describe one who takes something for the purpose of carrying it away. 

Once the church is complete the Lord will carry us away before turning again to Israel. This is consistent with Paul’s statement in Romans 11:25 that Israel has experienced a partial blindness until the full number of Gentiles has come in. The phrase “come in” means to arrive at one’s destination, as when a ship has “come in”. According to John 14:2-3 our destination is Heaven. Once the church has been carried away to its destination in Heaven the Great Pause will have ended.  The blinders will fall from Israel’s eyes, and Israel will complete its final seven years.

The Rapture has to happen before Daniel’s 70th Week can begin, because the 70th Week is all about Israel. It’s their final opportunity to be reconciled to God through the Messiah and prepare for the Kingdom He promised them so long ago. 2500 years before the fact, Zechariah prophesied that this would take place near the end of the 70th Week.
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” (Zech. 12:10)

Paul confirmed this and said it would happen after the rapture.
I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” (Romans 11:25-27)

And the Great Pause explains why post rapture salvation will be like it was in Old Testament times. The only difference is post rapture believers will be looking back to the cross whereas Old Testament believers looked forward to it. Speaking of the time when taking the mark of the beast will be required of everyone on Earth, the Lord said, “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12) Again, people have always been saved by faith, but during the Age of Law their faith has to be evidenced by obedience to the Law.

It also explains why the 144,000 servants of God have to be sealed before undertaking their mission. (Rev. 7:3) If the church was still here they would be sealed just the way we are. But during the Age of Law believers were not, nor will they be, sealed with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of their inheritance as we are (Ephes. 1:13-14). The 144,000 is the only group in the post rapture world that is described as being sealed. By the way, some scholars believe this means only the 144,000 will be supernaturally protected from the demonic locusts spoken of in Rev. 9.

I Can See Clearly Now

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. No other system of theology explains God’s overarching plan as succinctly as dispensationalism. None gives us such a clear understanding of the connection between events before Pentecost and those after the Rapture. No other one helps us see the “why” behind the “what” described in the Bible. None other so vividly demonstrates the absolutely unique nature of the church, while maintaining the integrity of God’s promises to Israel. And best of all it does so in a manner consistent with the literal, historical, grammatical interpretation of His Word. 06-27-09

Faithful unto death?

Reblogged from http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/keyes/130627
A Christian leader is one who follows Christ no matter the cost
By Alan Keyes

Under the name "Freedom Federation," a number of prominent Christians recently issued a statement boldly declaring that "the Supreme Court has no authority to redefine marriage...." They go on to say that if the Court presumes to do so, there should be "no mistake about our resolve. While there are many things we can endure, redefining marriage is so fundamental to the natural order and the true common good that this is the line we must draw and one we cannot and will not cross."

There was a time when, after reading their well-reasoned statement, and the list of people who signed it, I would have been eager to express my approbation and find a way to add myself to their number. But these days, my experience with many of them forces me to heed their admonition to make no mistake about their resolve. Their bold declamation cannot erase my personal knowledge of the fact that many of them have, in recent years, adamantly proclaimed their commitment to truth and principle, only to abandon both when calculations of material power and partisan loyalty seemed to require it.

In this respect they are like the witness to a crime who says it is a matter of conscience and civic duty to testify against some wrongdoer. But on the witness stand he loses heart because the accused, with a significant nod of his head, directs his attention to one of his henchmen, seated in close proximity to the witness's spouse, or some other member of his family. Or else, before going on the stand, he is made to know that his job or business will go awry if he tells what he saw. Suddenly, letting evil triumph in the courtroom seems less critical than staving off the greater evil that threatens those he loves, or the source of livelihood he relies upon to care for them. Choosing the lesser evil, his memory fails him. Which of us can know with certainty that we would not surrender to fear in this way. It's just human nature, isn't it; the way of the world?

True enough, except for people who sincerely believe that Jesus Christ walked the earth; that he was crucified, died, and was buried; that he rose from the dead to live on in the faithful body of those who know that their redeemer lives, and will stand at the latter day upon the earth (Job 19:21). Such are supposed to be the people who identify themselves as Christians, and who believe that wherever two or three are gathered in His name, there is Christ in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20); people who individually and in their association with one another profess, as St. Paul did, that "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). Like Christ, and trusting in Christ, they are in the world not of the world.

Down through the ages, this profession of faith in Jesus Christ has given the word "witness" a new meaning. That's why the word for "witness" in the language of the New Testament (which came into English usage as "martyr") became synonymous with one who lets no threat or worldly consideration stand in the way of his witness to God's truth. Martyrs, in this sense of the word, heeded the admonition of "the first and the last, which was dead and is alive" (Revelation 2:8): "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried,...be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life" (Revelation 2:10).

For some time now, forces determined to overthrow constitutional self-government in America have been attacking the premises of right and justice on which it is based. They have consistently relied on a specious understanding of "rights" that rejects the most fundamental premise of our way of life, which is that unalienable rights are endowed by God as He creates all humanity – i.e., as He makes us what we are; informing us, by the determinations that constitute our nature, of the way in which we may preserve and perpetuate ourselves, with due regard for the freedom (ability to choose one way or another) that reflects His special provision for our humanity.

This critical founding premise is consonant with and, historically, derived from the true understanding of the origin and nature of humanity conveyed in the Scriptures. People who profess to be Christian, therefore, do not stand by it just because they revere the wisdom or achievements of America's founders. Rather they appreciate the wisdom, and respect the achievements, of the founders insofar as both conform to the truth of God's Word, affirmed in the flesh by Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, the perfect embodiment and personification of God to man.

So when Christians sincerely insist upon standing by the premise of God's authority over government; when they reject any authority that contradicts it, and are determined to resist any power abused to enforce that contradiction upon them, they are not just bearing witness to human conventions which they insist upon from habit and tradition. They are acting as the living body of Christ, conveying by the power of God in Christ the truth of God's relation to the world that He has made, who is substance, source, ruler, and judge of all creation.

St. Paul describes faith as "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen" (Hebrews 11:1). As Christ is the hope of Christians, their faithful witness conveys the substance of that hope to the world. It makes manifest in their lives His living power. God is generally unseen in this world, except with eyes opened, by His Spirit and Grace, through Christ's miraculous performance of His works. The Christian's witness is the evidence of Christ's work, ongoing in every precinct of humanity, however men are blinded by sin and iniquity. Where the world sees the power of fear and death, faithful Christian witness attests the truth, that Christ has banished fear and conquered death. Where the world cowers before woes and deadly threats, those who live by faith in Christ stand undaunted, relying upon the power of the Word of God that Christ infuses into their very being.

Coming from Christian people, the statement that an issue of law or politics involves their respect for God's Word engages their true identity as persons transformed by Christ. It is or ought to be, like no other statement made in political affairs. For by that statement they invite the world to see their actions as a witness to the power of God's Word; the power of Christ's living example; power so great that even though it means withstanding every power the world may bring against them, they will stand for His truth, living for and by His will even when, in the lying eyes of the world, they seem to be dying for their trouble.

If I could believe that the people who signed the Freedom Federation's bold statement mean to stand by it in this way, no matter what, then I would lend credence to what they do with all my heart, and encourage others to do so. But many of them have spoken boldly before, and caved when it meant enduring nothing more terrible than ridicule or political isolation and defeat. Many of them are speaking boldly now, accurately insisting, as the Apostles did, that they must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). But even as they say so, some of them are temporizing and retreating before the threats and blandishments of the depraved powers that are using the Boy Scouts of America to scandalize our nation's young men. What else can come of the lie that equates the self-idolatrous love of homosexual conduct with the love of God naturally expressed in marriage and procreation?

In the words of the Marriage Solidarity Statement, its signatories say many things that I have said and sought to share with others for many years. With the help of God, I will go on standing for God's definition of family, and the logic of God- ordained natural law that is also the foundation of America's understanding of rights and justice. It has cost me much in terms of loss, as the world defines it – livelihood, family ties, affection, and good repute. Yet will I persevere, though it cost me life itself, as the world defines it. But I cannot act as though I believe bold statements when deeds do not flow from them. "Yea a man may say, 'You have faith and I have works.' Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.... Do you wish to learn, O' hollow man, that faith apart from works is dead [inert]?" (James 2:18, 20). My experience suggests that people encouraged to lend credence to such statements from people disinclined to back them up are apt to find themselves demoralized when they see the people thus vested with their trust squander the credibility won by their bold words on fatal compromises that betray their trust.

As I have said before, Christian leaders are best known as such by the one they follow, not by all those who follow them. Though Christ's way leads through Golgotha, it is the way of truth and life. And if, along the way, we must endure woe and seeming death, we know that in our time on the cross, Christ stands with us; and that where he abides, we are with God, in a place of everlasting life and perfect victory.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mothers and fathers no longer in vogue

Mothers and fathers no longer in vogue

Tectonic disaster looming

Tectonic disaster looming

A chicken in every pot and a mosque on every corner

Reblogged from Elizabeth Prata´s the-end-time.blogspot.com

Though the 'chicken in every pot' slogan is attributed to Herbert Hoover, he never actually used it, exactly. The Republican party did. The Hoover campaign used a variety of slogans in 1928 including "Vote for Prosperity." This source explains that "During the presidential campaign of 1928, a circular published by the Republican Party claimed that if Herbert Hoover won there would be “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” America was at the height of an economic bubble at the time, ensuring a landslide victory for Hoover over Democrat Al Smith. Prosperity was at its peak.

However, the October 1929 Wall Street crash, occurring only 9 months after Hoover's inauguration, ensured a defeat in 1932, where Americans felt Hoover had not been effective in halting the nation's downward economic slide. Franklin Roosevelt won.

I think every president has promised prosperity in some way or another. It is always an attractive promise. ("Four more years of the full dinner pail" — 1900 U.S. presidential slogan of William McKinley", "Peace and Prosperity — 1956 U.S. presidential campaign slogan of Dwight D. Eisenhower", "Are You Better Off Than You Were Four Years Ago?" - presidential campaign of Ronald Reagan", "It's the Economy, Stupid" 1992 campaign slogan of Bill Clinton's campaign). I mean, who doesn't want a full dinner pail and a new car? Promising prosperity works.

After move to $10.5 million River Oaks mansion, Joel Osteen offers Tanglewood land for $1.1 million
"At Lakewood Church, Joel Osteen proclaims,"It's God's will for you to live in prosperity instead of poverty." The pastor of the Houston megachurch and wife Victoria certainly practice what they preach. The couple has moved to a $10.5 million mansion in River Oaks, while keeping their former Tanglewood residence, valued at $2.9 million. They are, however, selling a vacant lot next to their former home. Asking price for the half-acre property at the corner of Doliver and Sherbrooke: $1.1 million." Below, Osteen's house

In this generation, the preachers of Christianity have caught on to that fact, so they promise prosperity too. Get that lucrative job, find that mansion house, receive that promotion, plant a seed and receive a blessing 100-fold. Prosperity works. After all, you can have Your Best Life Now if you only follow these 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential. (Joel Osteen). "Churches" started to grow. Immature believers and non-believers took that for proof that the prosperity preachers were preaching rightly, and flocked to see what they could get out of it. The goats stormed the castle and now they are all milling around the courtyard, looking for more. They are so busy naming and claiming it they do not see that the gates to the inside of the castle are still closed to them.

Name-it claim it prosperity preaching is unbiblical. "Jesus did not come to give us health, wealth and happiness now. He came to save us from our sins so that we can have an eternity of bliss with Him. Following Christ is not a ticket to all the material things men desire in this life but a ticket to eternal life. Our desire should not be to have our best life now but should be that of the Apostle Paul who had learned to be content “in whatever state I am” (Philippians 4:11). [source]

In the Middle East,the United Arab Emirates decreed a "New set of guidelines for mosques in Abu Dhabi" Places of worship to be within five minutes’ walk from every home in the capital

The article explains, "Abu Dhabi: Worshippers in Abu Dhabi will soon be no more than a five-minute walk away from the nearest mosque, as a new set of regulations requires a mosque within 350 metres of every home. ... The guidelines have been developed by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC), and they aim to ensure that mosques of appropriate size with high standards for hygiene and maintenance are adequately distributed across the emirate."

Though the UAE Federal Constitution declares that Islam is the official religion of the country, the UAE has traditionally left other religions alone, allowing congregants to worship in their own way, for the most part. There are some restrictions however. Proselytizing is banned. In general, Christians are allowed to worship as they please.

However, this new emphasis on a mosque on every corner, and it should LOOK like a mosque, too, may be a harbinger of coming change. This article explains some of the reasons for the design standards and the distance requirements:

"We decided that mosques must be 350 metres within every home as this distance can be covered in a five-minute walk, which is the shortest time between the call to prayer and the start of the prayer,” Al Hammadi explained. The second section concentrates on design recommendations. “For example, the areas containing toilets where worshippers can wear their shoes will be clearly distinct from the ablution area, where worshippers must remove their shoes."

In either case, the prosperity preachers or the Islamic governments, the emphasis is the same, and both are wrong. The emphasis is on the external.

In the case of the mosques, there is concern for how the mosque looks, there are "shoe zone and non-shoe zones," and whether there are enough bathrooms for ritual washing.

"Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.”...But Jesus said "And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” (Matthew 15:1-2, 10-11, 19-20).

The externals do not matter, it is what is inside a person that matters. Are they clean inside?

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness." (Matthew 23:27).

As for prosperity preachers, my hope does not lie in my faith to get consumable goods here in my best life now. I follow the command of Jesus,

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal." (Matthew 6:19)

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21)

My treasure is the Holy Spirit inside me, pointing to the treasure of Christ, God's son. Whatever the flavor of false religion, it will always point you to something that does not matter. The only thing that matters is Jesus...and whether you are reconciled to Him or are His enemy. Reconciliation is the eternal treasure, and that doesn't happen externally, it is an inward transformation--

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

'It's a darkness that claws at your sanity...'

Reblogged from Elizabeth Prata´s: the-end-time.blogspot.com

Darkness is a primal thing. No one likes it. No one seeks it. We think we have beaten our ancient fear of it, but it is only the fragile light bulb that makes us think we are less primitive than we are.

Darkness is disorienting, you cannot see the ground ahead of you nor the prey sneaking up on you. As a child, the prey is the alligator living under the bed. As an adult, the darkness is a thing to be laughed at in the light and a thing to be dreaded while in the dark.

For generations and centuries, man hated to see the sun set, having no candle to ward off the night spirits. Even with a candle or kerosene lamp, its flickering glow seemed too meager to combat the oppressive night.

Sailors for millennia will tell you that the night watch from 2-4 am is the most chilling. Terrifying is the night, especially if there is no moon and the stars are obscured. Samuel Taylor Coleridge captured this in the stanza about sailing at night in his famous Rime of the Ancient Mariner,

The Sun's rim dips; the stars rush out;
At one stride comes the dark;
With far-heard whisper, o'er the sea,
Off shot the spectre-bark.

We listened and looked sideways up!
Fear at my heart, as at a cup,
My life-blood seemed to sip!
The stars were dim, and thick the night,
The steersman's face by his lamp gleamed white;
From the sails the dew did drip—
Till clomb above the eastern bar
The hornèd Moon, with one bright star
Within the nether tip.

George Grie 'Final Frontier Voyager' Wikimedia commons
 Night sailing is vertiginous, captured here in Grie's painting. At every moment one believes the edge of the world looms and we will be pitched into a void from which there is no escape.

The River Styx is the Greek mythological river that separates the outer world from the underworld. It is a kingdom lorded over by Hades, and guarded by Cerberus the three headed dog. Charon is the ferryboatman who brings the lost souls across the river to their eternal doom. The term ‘stygian darkness’ comes from the Styx.

Here in the book Stories of the Ships, by Lewis R. Freeman, we read a description of a storm at night-

“The ship was reeling through the blackness of the pit when I clambered to the deck after dinner, so that the driving spray and ice-needles struck the face before one saw them by even the thousandth of a second. The darkness was such as one almost never encounters ashore, and it was some time before I accustomed myself to close my eyes against the unseen missiles (when turning to windward) without deliberately telling myself to do so in advance.”

“Into the Stygian pall the vivid golden triangles from the signal searchlights on the bridge flashed like the stab of a flaming sword. One instant the darkness was almost palpable enough to lean against; the next, the silhouette of funnels and foretop pricked into life, but only to be quenched again before the eye had time to fix a single detail.”

“Darkness you could lean against” … so apt!

I was in total darkness once. I do not mean the dark night, or even the dark when sailing, though that is very dark. I mean under-the-earth kind of dark where there is no spot of light nor any particle of brightness nor any beam of luminosity…just oppressive dark. It was when we toured the Queen Copper Mine in Bisbee Arizona. The tour takes you down under the earth and as you go along, they explain about mining. When we got to the bottom, the tour guide says to turn off your headlamps, and for 5 to 8 seconds we sit in a darkness so black is it alive. It suffocates, and permeates the brain to the extent that you want to scream and scrape your way out. It is a darkness that is palpable, suffocating you with its wild dementia. It is a darkness that claws at your sanity. When the lights come back on your mind relaxes at the soothing balm that brightness brings.

In darkness such as this, your eye has no opportunity to grasp a single detail, and instead, the mind is floating as a raft upon the darkness, free-wheeling and unhinged from the anchoring light.

In this NY Times review of an art installation, Darkness Visible, and Palpable, the author wrote,

“Usually, when we see something, we see it in advance: we know we can approach it; we can assess it as we move forward. Sight helps shape our sense of the future.

Here we have a different experience of time. Sounds help us anticipate, but in this strange, darkened space, even voices seem to float, positionless, in a void. We don’t know what is about to happen; we aren’t sure where we have been; and it is a problem finding out just where we are. No wonder horror movies rely on darkness: Anything can take shape in front of our eyes, and we would hardly know it. The world becomes immaterial in one respect but all too solid with dangers in another.”

Dore's illustration in Dante's Inferno,
Gates of Hell, 'Abandon all hope, ye who enter here'

Studies have been done. Darkness does things to us. Participants in an experiment were put into a dimmed room. Their behavior became more dishonest than the participants in the well-lit room. In another study, participants were situated in a well-lit room with another person, except then they were given sunglasses. Participants wearing sunglasses acted more dishonestly than participants without.
Read more about "What darkness does to the mind" at The Atlantic.

The bible frequently uses light and dark to contrast truths. Ecclesiastes 2:14b says that the fool walks in darkness. John 12:35b says "Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going."

The way that darkness is used here is that movement in the absence of light could cause self-injury or harm to others. You walk slowly when it's dark, you don't run. That is because you do not know where danger is. Pulpit Commentary says, "they will drift over the fathomless unknown into infinite and endless suspense. When the Light of the world is spurned, ... humanity and the world have no goal set before them; there is no end at which they aim - no mind or will to guide the progress of mankind."

Sin is darkness. "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them." (Ephesians 5:11)

The power of satan is darkness. (Acts 26:18)

The LORD spoke much in the Old Testament about the Day of Darkness. His judgment brings darkness.

"Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! Why would you have the day of the LORD? It is darkness, and not light" (Amos 5:18).

"Give glory to the LORD your God before he brings the darkness, before your feet stumble on the darkening hills. You hope for light, but he will turn it to utter darkness and change it to deep gloom." (Jeremiah 13:16)

But Jesus IS THE LIGHT!!

"Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

How wonderful we can follow Him, a Light that never goes on and never dims. We will never walk in darkness if we follow Him. He knows the way, because He IS the Way!

If you do not follow Him, O, my heart aches in sadness to say, but there the person will remain in outer darkness all their lives throughout eternity. A person who dies in their sin, will remain in that clawing, palpable, screaming darkness forever- in hell.

Hell is a place of outer darkness (Matthew 22:13) where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12).

People, the precious Light has come!

"Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light." (John 12:36)

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