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.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

'J'accuse': Israeli ambassador smacks Europe at U.N.


Diplomats from around the world got an earful when they gathered to mark a day of international solidarity with the Palestinian people at U.N. headquarters in New York.
Israel’s ambassador to the august body dropped the diplomatic niceties as he stepped to the rostrum and accused the international community of hypocrisy and duplicity, and denounced Europeans for playing cynical political games with terrorists.

Monday’s special session of the General Assembly was part of the U.N.’s 2014 Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The yearlong event has seen any number of photo exhibits, receptions and concerts funded by the emir of Qatar, one of the world’s leading financiers of al-Qaida, ISIS, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

While the U.N. passes resolution after resolution accusing Israel of mistreating Palestinian civilians, “Yazidis, Bahai, Kurds, Christians and Muslims are being executed and expelled by radical extremists at a rate of 1,000 people per month” across the Middle East, Ambassador Ron Prosor said, pointing out the U.N. has not passed a single resolution addressing these crises.

The Israeli ambassador went on to blast the U.N. for ignoring the plight of the Palestinian refugees in Arab nations.
“In most of the Arab world, Palestinians are denied citizenship and are aggressively discriminated against” and “barred from owning land and prevented from entering certain professions,” he explained to the stone-faced diplomats.
The U.N., in fact, has done far more than refuse to condemn Arab states for persecuting Palestinian people. It has actively helped perpetuate the persecution, he charged.

Since 1949, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, has provided “assistance” exclusively to Palestinians in refugee camps in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. In doing so, it has acted like the international version of a welfare agency that fosters dependency, allowing “refugee status” to be passed down from generation to generation rather than encouraging host countries to integrate the refugees into society.

By the U.N.’s own numbers, about 700,000 Palestinians were displaced from Israel in 1948. UNRWA now serves some 5 million “official” Palestinian refugees.
“If you were so truly concerned about the Palestinians there would be at least one resolution to denounce the treatment of Palestinians in Lebanese refugee camps,” Prosor said.

But the Europeans came under the most scorching attack.
“The European nations claim to stand for Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité – freedom, equality and brotherhood – but nothing could be farther from the truth,” the ambassador said.
Prosor recounted the European nations’ refusal to allow American cargo planes to refuel as they carried weapons and ammunition to Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
“The Jewish people have a long memory. We will never ever forget that you failed us in the 1940s. You failed us in 1973. And you are failing us again today.”

Prosor turned his ire on Swedish Secretary of State Annika Soder, whose government recognized Palestine as an independent state and was seated among the delegates in the room.
“The Swedish government may host the Nobel Prize ceremony, but there is nothing noble about their cynical political campaign to appease the Arabs in order to get a seat on the Security Council,” he said. “Nations on the Security Council should have sense, sensitivity and sensibility. Well, the Swedish government has shown no sense, no sensitivity and no sensibility. Just nonsense.”

He reaffirmed Israel’s commitment to guarantee people of all faiths and nationalities will have access to Jerusalem’s holy sites.
“You don’t have to be Catholic to visit the Vatican, you don’t have to be Jewish to visit the Western Wall, but some Palestinians would like to see the day when only Muslims can visit the Temple Mount. … We will make sure that the holy places remain open to all people of all faiths for all time.”

After cataloguing terrorist attacks and their celebration by Palestinian authorities, he said the battle the world is witnessing is not between Jews and Arabs, but “a battle between those who sanctify life and those who celebrate death.”
As the delegates sat silently, Prosor summed up: “To the nations that continue to allow prejudice to prevail over truth, I say ‘J’accuse.’ I accuse you of hypocrisy. I accuse you of duplicity.”

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/11/jaccuse-israeli-ambassador-smacks-europe-at-u-n/#1OyDDbhH0j2p5CI5.99

Op-Ed: Israel is the Crucial Border of Western Civilization

Reblogged from: Israel National News
Europe's moral equivalence between terrorists and Israel.Why hasn’t the European Parliament ever convened to condemn the killing of Jews at the hands of an Arab terrorist?
Published: Monday, November 24, 2014 9:43 AM

Israel is to blame by its very being, for everything. Even for its own blood, spilled by barbarians.
The European chancelleries have already pulled the form letter they dispatch when Jews are murdered by various Arab terrorists from their files, and have expressed their condolences.

But in Europe, there was no real grief for the pogrom in Har Nof, but manifestations of moral and political equivalence between the Israeli civilians and the Arab terrorists. Like the Jews, the Jewish State is a pain in the neck, and the world would feel relieved without it.
Sweden, UK, France and Spain are all voting these days to recognize the “Palestinian State”. The same entity which holds major responsibility for the massacre in Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, the European Union's new foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini just visited Gaza and Ramallah, where she embraced the Har Nof terrorist goal: the division of Jerusalem and the establishment of a Palestinian State.
Of course, for Europe, Israel is to blame by its very being, for everything. Even for its own blood, spilled by barbarians.

The European Union will not stop funding the Palestinian Arabs media: radios, tv, newspapers and educational programs which are publicly inciting to slaughter the Jews.
Why hasn’t the European Parliament ever convened to condemn the killing of a single Jew at the hands of an Arab terrorist?

In Rome, these days, I saw posters asking for the liberation of the Palestinian terrorist Ahmed Saadat, the maths teacher currently held in an Israeli prison. Saadat is the current leader of the Popular Front of Liberation of Palestine, the group which took responsibility for the killings in Har Nof. 

In the French city of Valenton, France, a street has just been named after Marwan Barghouti, the terrorist leader who recently called to spill Israeli blood in Jerusalem. In Palermo, the souther Italian city, Barghouti has just been named an “honorary citizen”.
The former UK foreign minister, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, just tweeted a message that implied equivalence between the Har Nof terrorists and Jews protesting over Temple Mount.
In Turin, Italy, there is a museum hosting a UNWRA exposition saying that the Sabra and Shatila massacre was committed by the Israeli army and demonizing the Israeli fence which helped stop the suicide bombers.

During the Six Day War in 1967, then Italy’s senator Giovanni Spadolini, one of the very few pro Israeli figures, wrote that was “a census of consciences”. Most of Europe stood with Egypt’s Nasser and the Arab dream to throw the Jews into the Mediterranean. Today there is another census of consciences, where most of the Europeans stay supporting the Palestinian Arab cousins who shouted “Allah Akbar” and exterminated four wonderful rabbis praying to the God of Israel, prayer which is stronger than lies and hatred.

Open any European daily newspaper these days: you will not find a single commentator writing that what happened in Har Nof has nothing to do with “occupation” (the killers had Israeli ID cards and did not have to pass checkpoints).

But it is armed Nazi-like anti-Semitism which the world must condemn, stating that Jews have the right to keep Jerusalem united under their control and that the State of Israel is the most important border of Western civilization.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Exclusive: Cornered but unbound by nuclear pact, Israel reconsiders military action against Iran

WASHINGTON – Historic negotiations with Iran will reach an inflection point on Monday, as world powers seek to clinch a comprehensive deal that will, to their satisfaction, end concerns over the nature of its vast, decade-old nuclear program.But reflecting on the deal under discussion with The Jerusalem Post on the eve of the deadline, Israel has issued a stark, public warning to its allies with a clear argument: Current proposals guarantee the perpetuation of a crisis, backing Israel into a corner from which military force against Iran provides the only logical exit.
Continue reading via Exclusive: Cornered but unbound by nuclear pact, Israel reconsiders military action against Iran.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I just want to be where you are - Don Moen

Netanyahu warns US not to make "historic mistake" on Iran

Interview with Henry Kissinger: 'Do We Achieve World Order Through Chaos or Insight?'

Reblogged from: spiegel.de/international
Interview Conducted By Juliane von Mittelstaedt and Erich Follath
Photo Gallery: Henry Kissinger's World Order Photos
Henry Kissinger is the most famous and most divisive secretary of state the US has ever had. In an interview, he discusses his new book exploring the crises of our time, from Syria to Ukraine, and the limits of American power. He says he acted in accordance with his convictions in Vietnam.
Henry Kissinger seems more youthful than his 91 years. He is focused and affable, but also guarded, ready at any time to defend himself or brusquely deflect overly critical questions. That, of course, should come as no surprise. While his intellect is widely respected, his political legacy is controversial. Over the years, repeated attempts have been made to try him for war crimes.
From 1969 to 1977, Kissinger served under President Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, first as national security advisor and then as secretary of state. In those roles, he also carried partial responsibility for the napalm bombings in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos the killed or maimed tens of thousands of civilians. Kissinger also backed the putsch against Salvador Allende in Chile and is accused of having had knowledge of CIA murder plots. Documents declassified just a few weeks ago show that Kissinger had drawn up secret plans to launch air strikes against Cuba. The idea got scrapped after Democrat Jimmy Carter was elected in 1976. 

Nevertheless, Kissinger remains a man whose presence is often welcome in the White House, where he continues to advise presidents and secretaries of state to this day.
Little in Kissinger's early years hinted at his future meteoric rise in American politics. Born as Heinz Alfred Kissinger in Fürth, Germany in 1923, his Jewish family would later flee to the United States in 1938. After World War II, Kissinger went to Germany to assist in finding former members of the Gestapo. He later studied political science and became a professor at Harvard at the age of 40. 

Kissinger recently published his 17th book, a work with the not exactly modest title "World Order." When preparing to sit down with us for an interview, he asked that "world order" be the topic. Despite his German roots and the fact that he reads DER SPIEGEL each week on his iPad, Kissinger prefers to speak in English. After 90 minutes together in New York, Kissinger says he's risked his neck with everything he's told us. But of course, a man like Kissinger knows precisely what he does and doesn't want to say.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Dome of the Rock was Built for Jews - Inside Israel - News - Arutz Sheva

The Dome of the Rock was Built for Jews - Inside Israel - News - Arutz Sheva

Status Quo? The Dome of the Rock was Built for Jews

In final installment of 3-part series on the Temple Mount, we take a look at a lesser-known aspect of the history of the Dome of the Rock.

By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 11/19/2014, 12:30 PM

Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock
Israel news photo: Flash 90
This article is the third and final installment in a series exploring the "status quo" on Jerusalem's Temple Mount. For Part One click here; for Part Two click here.
Parts I and II of this series have shown that the "status quo" on the Temple Mount is not quite all it's been hyped up to be. It certainly is not an all-out ban on Jewish prayer on the holiest site to the Jewish People – because for hundreds of years, up until possibly 300 years ago, it was frequently used for just that purpose. Jews visited the Mount often and prayed there regularly.

On the other hand, if the "status quo" refers to the arrangements put in place after the Six Day War in 1967, they have long been changed – and to the detriment of Jewish rights there. It is ostensibly illogical to demand retaining the "status quo" to forbid Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, while changing the "status quo" in order to much more severely restrict Jewish visitation rights.

In any event, latest research regarding the construction of the Dome of the Rock – the magnificent structure that stands atop the site of the Holy of Holies – shows that it was originally built not for Muslims at all. Rather, it was built for the Jewish People!
Continue reading: Israelnationalnews.com

Responding to the slaughter

Reposted from caroline glick.com

 What we are seeing in Jerusalem today is not simply Palestinian terrorism. It is Islamic jihad. No one likes to admit it. The television reporters insist that this is the worst possible scenario because there is no way to placate it. There is no way to reason with it.

So what else is new?
The horrible truth is that all of the anti-Jewish slaughters perpetrated by our Arab neighbors have been motivated to greater or lesser degrees by Islamic Jew-hatred. The only difference between the past hundred years and now is that today our appeasement-oriented elite is finding it harder to pretend away the obvious fact that we cannot placate our enemies.

No “provocation” by Jews drove two Jerusalem Arabs to pick up meat cleavers and a rifle and slaughter rabbis in worship like sheep and then mutilate their bodies.

No “frustration” with a “lack of progress” in the “peace process,” can motivate people to run over Jewish babies or attempt to assassinate a Jewish civil rights activist.

The reason that these terrorists have decided to kill Jews is that they take offense at the fact that in Israel, Jews are free. They take offense because all their lives they have been taught that Jews should live at their mercy, or die by their sword.

They do so because they believe, as former Jordanian MP Ya’qub Qarash said on Palestinian television last week, that Christians and Muslims should work together to forbid the presence of Jews in “Palestine” and guarantee that “not a single Jew will remain in Jerusalem.”

Continue reading at:  http://carolineglick.com/responding-to-the-slaughter/

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Revelation 3:20 and Asking Jesus into Your Heart

Charles BingDr. Charles Bing GraceLife Ministries Reblogged from Bible Prophecy blog

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me." (Revelation 3:20)
"I asked Jesus into my heart" is a common way Christians relate their salvation testimony. Preachers, teachers, witnessing Christians, and gospel literature frequently end their gospel presentation with the invitation to "Ask Jesus into your heart." When we look at the practical, theological, and biblical objections to this phrase, we may decide to use different language.
heart jesus

Practical Problems

A woman related how as a child she was lying on her stomach in bed when her mother told her she needed to ask Jesus into her heart. She rolled over onto her back so that Jesus could come into her heart. This story illustrates how children think in concrete terms. It is easy to see how such an appeal can miss the gospel message altogether.

Left with this imagery, we understand why assurance of salvation is a big problem with many children. They don't feel Jesus in their "hearts." Adults too are left with a subjective evaluation of whether they feel Jesus indwelling them. "Asking Jesus into you heart" easily breeds confusion and undermines the true basis of assurance, faith in God's promise of eternal life in Jesus Christ as Savior.

Theological Problems

Most Roman Catholics would say they receive Jesus Christ into their hearts and lives when they eat the communion elements at church. But a physical transaction involving food, the digestive system, or the heart organ has nothing to do with receiving eternal life. Again, asking Jesus into the heart or receiving Him into one's life does not deal with the issue of one's sinful condition and Christ's provision for sin's penalty through His death and resurrection. A person is diverted away from the gospel message if "asking Jesus into your heart" is the condition for salvation.

Biblical Problems

Those who defend the invitation "Ask Jesus into your heart" usually cite Revelation 3:20. But as we interpret the passage in its context, we find that there is no basis for this invitation here.

In the larger context, the book of Revelation was recorded by John to inform and prepare readers for the end times (Rev. 1:19). Within this general purpose, chapters 2 and 3 address contemporary churches and their respective situations. Six of the churches are displeasing to the Lord Jesus Christ and are told to repent. In contrast, the Gospel of John, which was written to tell readers how to have eternal life (John 20:31), never uses the word "repent" but uses "believe" almost one hundred times as the condition for salvation. This in itself is sufficient reason not to model our evangelistic invitation from the words of Revelation. When Revelation includes a clear invitation to salvation in 22:17, it echoes the invitations of the Gospel of John with "Come" and "take the water of life" (John 4:10; 6:37, 44, 65).

We also observe that Revelation 3:20 is part of Christ's message to the church in Laodicea. Churches are composed of believers, but believers can be displeasing to the Lord by disobedient actions and sinful lifestyles (for example, the Corinthian church). The message to these and the other disobedient believers in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 is not to get saved, but to repent of that which displeases the Lord.

The Laodicean believers are not good or useful to Christ because they are like lukewarm water. He would prefer them to be like hot or cold water, because each has its respective useful purposes. Lukewarm water is useless, unpleasant, and thus spit out (vv. 15-16). They think they need nothing in their relationship to God, but the Lord's assessment is very much to the contrary (v. 17). In verse 18 Jesus counsels them to buy gold, garments, and eye salve. This cannot speak of salvation because salvation is by grace without cost. Jesus speaks of paying the price for the things that are of spiritual value to the Christian. Further evidence that they are believers is the Lord's reassurance in verse 19 that He only reproves and chastens those He loves. The command to "be zealous and repent" is then illustrated by verse 20.

Verse 20 shows how these believers can repent by responding to Jesus' invitation to renew fellowship with Him. Jesus has been excluded from the fellowship of the church, so He knocks seeking entrance. Since a church is made up of individuals, the invitation is to whoever in the church "hears" and "opens the door," a picture of receptivity. The promised result is that Jesus will come "in to" him. It is important to know the original language Jesus used. He did not say "into" to denote contact with (which would use the Greek eis), but he said "in to" to denote motion toward (using the Greek pros). The different emphases between the two prepositions can be seen in John 6:35:
"He who comes to (pros) Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in (eis) Me shall never thirst."
Jesus will come in to where the receptive person is (not inside him) to eat together with him. The imagery of eating together is a common biblical and cultural picture of fellowship. The reward of sitting with Jesus on His throne is not a result of salvation, but a reward for the conquering or victorious Christian (v. 21).


Some will say, "But are we not supposed to ask Jesus for eternal life as indicated by John 4:10? Yes, for eternal life; but there is no biblical precedent for asking Jesus "to come into your heart." Ask is an analogy for believing. Others may also refer to John 1:12 to say we must receive Christ. But that verse uses receiving Christ for the result of salvation, not the means of salvation, which is to "believe in His name." Others might argue that many people get saved by asking Jesus into their heart. We would respond that if they were saved, it is because they also understood and believed the gospel. No one can be saved by only asking Jesus into his or her heart. We would also add that there are many people without assurance of salvation because they responded to this confusing invitation.


When presenting the gospel, we should be as biblical and as clear as possible. We have an overwhelming biblical basis for telling people to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the One who died for our sins, rose again, and guarantees our eternal salvation. There is no good reasons to use the confusing gospel-evading, and unbiblical invitation to "Ask Jesus into your heart."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Imam insulted Christians, Jews in National Cathedral

Reposted from World Net Daily
Imam insulted Christians, Jews in National Cathedral

Islam is hard-wired with a “conquering” mentality that dates back to its earliest days, says a noted author, and that mentality was on display Friday at the Washington National Cathedral.
Even in a service billed as a symbolic olive branch to Christianity, celebrated inside an iconic church, Islam’s air of supremacy could not help but leak out, says Dr. Andrew Bostom, author of several books on Islam including “The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims” in 2005 and “The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History” in 2008.

Not that anyone in the Episcopal cathedral cared to notice.
“After viewing Friday’s ostensible exercise in ‘ecumenism’ at the National Cathedral, it is impossible for me to discern whether the Christian event organizers are more ethically, or intellectually cretinous,” writes Bostom in his blog at AndrewBostom.org.
Bostom is an associate professor of medicine at Brown University Medical School and author of four exhaustive studies on Islam.

Read more at World Net Daily

Mary did you know?

Disturbing developments

Obama Met With Ferguson Activists – Said He’s Concerned They “Stay on Course”

President Obama met with Ferguson protest leaders on November 5th, the day after the midterm elections. The meeting was not on his daily schedule. He was concerned that the protesters “stay on course.”
What does that mean?
And why is the president meeting with the violent Mike Brown protesters before a verdict is reached in the court case? MORE
S.T. Lloyd Commentary:
Generally, if I am late (in the day or week) getting online and catching up on the latest news, I may or may not run a post on certain “big stories” if they are already posted on most blogs or news sites of similar content, simply because I assume readers have seen them elsewhere by then.   It’s been a busy week for me, and seemingly, despite the midterms, sort of a quiet news week.  The most significant stories in my opinion, though, were the Muslim prayer on the House floor for opening of the congressional session, (though it is not as if that is the first time it has happened), and the Friday prayer session which took place at the National Cathedral Friday.  This is like sitting at the bedside of a loved one on “death watch”.   There are always those who remain in denial right up until the last gasp.

The other big “story” (though the only surprising thing about the story itself, is that people are surprised!) as to Obama’s carrying on as if he didn’t just receive the most resounding vote of “no confidence” that ever occurred in the history of this nation.

Really he is the epitome of the humanistic mindset.  “Your reality is what you choose to be true”.  Humanists call that “self actualization”.  Sane people call it delusion.  You can never appeal to a delusional person on the basis of logic.  I’m just not sure who is more deluded; the President, or those who voted for him that feel he has let them down.  It is kind of like the unfaithful husband who gets into an affair with a married woman, and then is surprised when the new relationship, built solely upon the shifting sands of self-centered duplicity, doesn’t hold together any better than the first.

The election can’t change anything.  America sprang from a revolution.  But the cause from which the revolution was ignited, a strong desire to freely worship God, does no longer drive this nation.  For the most part, what drives those running and ruling this nation, is anything but!  I think there are a great number of individuals that still hold dear, the founding principles, but the nation itself has been hijacked.

The same goes for “the church”!
For decades now, the professing Christian church has ceased being an “infirmary” where terminally ill are rescued from certain death, into some sort of resort-spa-self-improvement camp where people go to self-optimize.

This story from Before It’s News, and the accompanying video, epitomizes how, and to what (extreme) degree, the true Bride of Christ has been “driven underground” while what poses as the “Christian Church” has been entirely possessed by an entirely different (imposter) entity altogether. 

This is certainly not only in America.  These same “churches” have continued to send missionaries across the globe peddling this new “gospel”.  The “preachers” in this new “improved” version of church clearly disdain sound doctrine and the Jesus of the Holy Bible, and ultimately a Sovereign God.  They are not interested in seeing anyone get saved.  They are looking for people who cling to the misguided belief that they are capable of goodness and holiness in and of themselves.

It goes without saying that things are lined up for the arrival of the Antichrist on the world stage. All that is lacking is the “sudden destruction” of I Thessalonians 5:3.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Journey Away from Contemporary Worship Music

Reblogged fromhttp://www.dancogan.com

I have been what many would call a “worship leader” for close to two decades. When I first became involved in “worship ministry” in an Assemblies of God youth group we sang such songs as The Name of the Lord Is a Strong Tower, As the Deer, Lord I Lift Your Name on High, and others of the era of the 1980s and 90s. Ours was considered a stylistically progressive church since we used almost exclusively contemporary songs.

This meant that if I were to visit a “traditional” church, not only would I be unfamiliar with the hymns, I would also likely cringe when they sang them and in my heart ridicule them (the people rather than the songs) as being old-fashioned.

It was during these formative years in my experience as a worship leader that I began to introduce even more contemporary songs to our youth group. It was then that I discovered artists like Delirious, Darrel Evans, Matt Redman, and Vineyard Music with their songs Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble, Trading My Sorrows, Heart of Worship, and Hungry. 
As a young musician who desired to honor Christ, I found these songs to be particularly compelling. I felt different when we sang them. The way Nirvana gave voice to the angst of Generation X, bands like Delirious were giving voice to a generation of young Christians who didn’t feel they could relate to the songs of their parents and grandparents.

Over the years when I would occasionally hear a hymn, the language was always strikingly foreign, with Ebenezers and bulwarks, diadems and fetters. Which only served to confirm my bias that hymns were simply out-of-date. They had served their purpose. They had run their course.

The problem with my youthful logic only began to dawn on me about seven years ago. I had come to recognize that these ancient hymns accomplished something that the new songs weren’t. While contemporary worship seemed to take the listener on an exciting and emotional rollercoaster, the old hymns engaged the mind with deep and glorious truths that when sincerely pondered caused a regenerated heart to humbly bow before its King.

When I accepted my first post as a paid member of a church staff in 2007, I began the practice of singing one hymn each week. There were times where my peers would teasingly ask what an “Ebenezer” was. What I found was that when I gave them a basic definition of these seemingly obsolete words we were singing, their response was usually something akin to, “Oh? Cool. I never knew that!” I think when they asked, they half expected me to say, “I don’t know! Weird word, huh?” Instead they were being challenged to learn, not merely a new word, but how to ponder the things of God deeply when we sing His praises.

Nowadays, I still choose songs for our congregation to sing that were written recently, but they 

are becoming increasingly the minority. And the criteria for selecting them is becoming more and more thorough. Hymns have begun to take precedent in my song selection for two reasons.

First, hymns have been sung by the giants of the faith who have gone on before us over the last two millennia. 
When we sing A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, we join with Martin Luther who wrote it, and with Calvin and Spurgeon and Edwards who invariably sang and cherished it. When we sing It Is Well With My Soul we are encouraged by the faith of Horatio Spafford who wrote the hymn in the wake of the tragic death of his four daughters. And while many contemporary songs have certainly been written by wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ who have surely endured trials, the fact that we can join with generations past and be reminded that the Church is vastly larger than our local congregation, farther reaching than our town or state or country, and much, much older than the oldest saint living today is something we should not take lightly. Indeed, this should birth in us a desire to sing the songs that our Family has sung together for two-thousand years (and beyond when we discuss singing the Psalms).

Second, the content of hymns is almost always vastly more theologically rich. When I say rich, I don’t necessarily mean every hymn recounts the Gospel in it’s entirety, or that all hymns clearly teach the Five Points of Calvinism. Rather, the theology in the hymns is typically more sound or healthy than much of contemporary worship music. As I said earlier, contemporary songs engage our emotions more often, where the hymns engage our hearts by way of the mind.

By way of example, one of the top ten contemporary songs being sung in American evangelical churches right now is called One Thing Remains. While there is nothing in the song particularly bad (in fact, much of it is pretty good), it seems to me that the purpose of the song is to work the listeners into an emotional state. The chorus is:
“Your love never fails / It never gives up / Never runs out on me / Your love never fails / It never gives up / Never runs out on me / Your love never fails / It never gives up / Never runs out on me / Your love / Your love / Your love.”
With the repetition of a simple lyric like that, it isn’t a stretch to say that the composers’ goal was not to engage the listeners mind.
Whereas Augustus Toplady’s hymn Rock of Ages is doctrinally sound, it also is a very moving song of our dependance upon Christ our Rock:
“Rock of Ages cleft for me / Let me hide myself in Thee / Let the water and the blood / From Thy wounded side which flowed / Be of sin the double cure / Save from wrath and make me pure.”
So I make this plea to my fellow ministers, do not neglect these milestones from ages past. In fact, I would make the case for the abandonment of most contemporary songs. If you choose a song for congregational worship based on it’s content (say you have chosen a contemporary song because of it’s focus on the Cross), do the hard work of finding a hymn that more than likely addresses the same topic or doctrine in a much deeper way.

If on the other hand you have chosen a song because of the way it feels or the emotion it evokes, ask yourself whether you are depending upon the Holy Spirit or your own skills to engage our brothers and sisters in singing to our King.

Hezbollah Smuggling Weapons to Brazilian Criminal Gangs

Reblogged from:The Jewish Press
Chief Hezbollah terrorist Hassan Nasrallah.
Chief Hezbollah terrorist Hassan Nasrallah.
Photo Credit: Ferran Queved/Flash 90
The prominent Brazilian newspaper, O Globo reported recently that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist group has links with Brazil’s largest criminal gang, First Capital Command (PCC).

According to the O Globo report on November 9, the Brazilian government has tried to minimize the issue of Hezbollah activity in the region. But in the past eight years, Brazilian intelligence services “have gathered a lot of evidence that traffickers linked to the Lebanese Hezbollah, the ‘Party of God,’ ventured a Brazilian association with criminals,” according to the report. 

The news report also states that Brazil’s Federal Police have indicated that Hezbollah groups are linked with criminal organizations that operate in Brazilian prisons, mainly in São Paulo. Police documents reveal that Hezbollah has been providing the Brazilian gang with weapons while also acting as intermediaries in the sale of explosives that the PCC stole from Paraguay. In exchange, the PCC offers protection in Brazil’s prisons for inmates of Lebanese origin. 

Reports of Hezbollah building a Western base in South America’s Tri-border area – the region divided by the borders of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil – have surfaced years ago. In 2007, NBC News and Telemundo uncovered details of an extensive smuggling network run by Hezbollah, through which large sums of money were funneled to terrorist leaders in the Middle East and for training camps. 

The Tri-border has been described by US officials as the most important base for Hezbollah to finance its operations outside of Lebanon itself.
Founded in 1982, Hezbollah, a radical Shiite Muslim group, is considered to be one of the most active terrorist organizations in the world with a global terror network that has killed hundreds of innocent civilians through plane hijackings, suicide bombings, assassinations, weapons smuggling and rocket fire. It is the first organization in modern history that has perpetrated a suicide bombing attack.

In 1994, a Hezbollah suicide bomber, directed by the Iranian regime, detonated a car in front of the Jewish Community Center in the commercial area of Buenos Aires, killing 85 people and wounding 300. Hezbollah is also responsible for the assassination of American academic Malcolm Kerr in 1984, the assassination of French military attaché in Lebanon, Col. Christian Gouttiere in 1986, and an international court found evidence of Hezbollah’s role in the assassination in 2005 of Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri.

Last month, Hezbollah operative, Mohammed Amdar, a Lebanese citizen, was apprehended in Peru on October 28 thanks to a tip by Israeli intelligence for suspicion of planning attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets. Officials discovered TNT, explosives and flammable substances in the Lima apartment of Amdar, who had been gathering information on Jewish institutions and places where Israelis frequently hike in Peru.

Hezbollah forces also planted two bombs on the Israeli side of the Lebanese border in the Har Dov region of the Golan Heights on October 7, wounding two IDF soldiers who were bomb-disposal experts from the Combat Engineering Corps.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Woman proclaiming Christ ejected from Muslim prayers at National Cathedral

It all sounds so high-minded: the Rev. Canon Gina Campbell says: “This needs to be a world in which all are free to believe and practice and in which we avoid bigotry, Islamaphobia, racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Christianity and to embrace our humanity and to embrace faith.”

But someone threw a rotting cabbage on their lovely sofa, as DCist laments: “And because love, respect and understanding is too much of a concept for some people to understand, a person interrupted the service. Of course.” Still, the spectacle of a woman being forcibly ejected from what is ostensibly a Christian cathedral for proclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord just before Muslim prayers are about to begin is at very least evidence that we live in strange times.

I noted here the Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood links of the sponsoring groups. Besides that, there is the fact that there is an enduring obstacle to achieving a world in which we are all free to believe and practice and embrace our humanity and faith: Muslims who take to heart and act upon Qur’an verses like these:

Christians have forgotten part of the divine revelations they received: “From those, too, who call themselves Christians, We did take a covenant, but they forgot a good part of the message that was sent them: so we estranged them, with enmity and hatred between the one and the other, to the day of judgment. And soon will Allah show them what it is they have done.” — Qur’an 5:14

Jesus is not the Son of God: “O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” – Cease! (it is) better for you! – Allah is only One Allah. Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender.” — Qur’an 4:171

“It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! when He determines a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” — Qur’an 19:35
Those who believe that Jesus is God’s Son are accursed: “The Jews call ‘Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! ” — Qur’an 9:30

Jesus was not crucified: “And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger – they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain.” — Qur’an 4:157
Christians, as People of the Book, must be warred against and subjugated: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” — Qur’an 9:29

In light of all that, and the ongoing and escalating Muslim persecution of Christians worldwide, wouldn’t it have been more appropriate, so as to promote love, respect and understanding and all that, to have Christian prayers in a mosque? After all, it is Muslims who are persecuting Christians worldwide, and the National Cathedral decides to show its good will and love for Muslims by inviting Hamas-linked Muslim Brotherhood front groups to pray there. Why doesn’t the ADAMS Center show its good will and love for Christians by inviting Christians to pray in the mosque there?

This woman who disrupted the service was upset that a building dedicated to the worship of Christ had been given over for the use of people who believe that her proclamation of Christ is a blasphemous falsehood and that her beliefs are a perversion of the true teachings of Jesus the Muslim prophet. Before waxing indignant and self-righteous over her “bigotry” and “intolerance,” Muslims who would have no problem with a mosque that did indeed invite Christians in to offer prayers to the Son of God, and who would applaud the forcible ejection from that mosque of a Muslim who stood up and said, No, this is wrong, there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet, should demonstrate their own love, respect and understanding by actually extending a real invitation to Christians to come in.
“Of Course Someone Interrupted Muslim Prayers At The National Cathedral,” DCist, November 14, 2014 (thanks to Jerk Chicken):

In a “a dramatic moment in the world and in Muslim-Christian relations,” the National Cathedral is currently hosting Jumu’ah, the Friday prayer said by Muslims. And because love, respect and understanding is too much of a concept for some people to understand, a person interrupted the service. Of course.
According to reports, a woman yelled “Jesus Christ is Lord!” before being removed from the Cathedral. A group of motorcyclists planned to protest “the Islamization of America” outside the D.C. house of worship.

Organized by South African Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool, the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Society of North America, Muslim Public Affairs Council and The Nation’s Mosque, certain people are pretty worked up about the service, with the Reverend Franklin Graham calling it “sad to see.”In a release about the event, Rasool, who helped organize the event with Cathedral liturgical director, the Rev. Canon Gina Campbell, said, “This needs to be a world in which all are free to believe and practice and in which we avoid bigotry, Islamaphobia, racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Christianity and to embrace our humanity and to embrace faith.”
The service can be watched here.

Muslim imam prays to Allah in the House chambers.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Great Apostasy by Jack Kelley

fallingaway Grace Thugh Faith

A Feature Article By Jack Kelley
Reposted from: Grace Through Faith
Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction (2 Thes 2:3).

In the King James, the Greek word translated “rebellion” above is rendered “falling away.” The actual Greek word is “apostasia” from which we get the English word “apostasy”. This word is most often used to describe the departure from one’s religion. It’s when someone says they believed in a particular religion in the past, but later left that religion, and either said they no longer believe in it, or admit they never really did believe in it.

Because Paul said this apostasy would precede both the Day of the Lord and the public introduction of the anti-Christ, many students of prophecy are trying to determine whether Paul’s prophecy has been or is being fulfilled.

In reality it’s not as simple as it seems for two reasons. One is that the apostates of today still see themselves as being believers, and don’t feel they’ve left their religion. The other is that the apostasy has been going on a lot longer than most people realize.

You Must Be Born Again

For example, the Bible says we must be born again in order to see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). I know the phrase “born again” carries negative connotations in some “Christian” circles, so let’s define what it means.
John 1:12-13 says that to those who received the Lord and believed in His name He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

In John 3:5-6 Jesus equated being born again with being born of water and of the Spirit. Since we all spend the first nine months of our existence in a sac of amniotic fluid that is very similar in composition to sea water, we are all born of water. This is what John had called being born of natural descent or of human decision or a husband’s will in John 1:12-13.

Being born of the Spirit takes place when we believe we are a sinner in need of a Savior and that Jesus came to Earth to die for our sins. Paul said at that moment we are marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance (Ephes. 1:13-14). In God’s view we immediately become a new creation that replaces the old one (2 Cor. 5:17) and receive the full rights of a child of God (Galatians 4:4-7). This is what being born again means.

That Was Then.  This Is Now.

For most of its 2,000 year history the great majority of Christians have believed this basic tenet of our faith, but sadly that is no longer the case. According to a recent poll by the Barna Group, in the US only about half of those who claim to be Christians also identify themselves as being born again.

It’s hard to say when this apostasy began because it’s been happening gradually, but it can probably be traced to the time when the formerly great main line denominations began to replace being born again with membership in a local congregation as the means by which believers receive salvation. This happened after theological liberalism began invading American seminaries in the early 20th Century. Over time, the deity of Jesus, the inspiration of Scripture, the existence of Hell, the Lord’s claim to being the only way to salvation and other traditional Christian beliefs were also called into question.

Because of that we now have a couple of generations of good people who attend church regularly and call themselves Christians but don’t meet the requirement of John 3:3 to have eternal life. They can’t really be called apostates because they never left the faith they came into. It’s the liberal denomination they belong to that has become apostate.

Many of the true believers among them eventually left these denominations in search of a church that still believes what the Bible teaches. But they weren’t falling away from their faith, they were looking for a place that still believed it.  The “Jesus movement” of the 1970’s was probably the most concentrated exodus from the denominations. Most of the ones who didn’t leave had always been Christians in name only and were happy where they were.

On the other side of the coin we have the Evangelical churches, many of which are non-denominational . They’re the ones the true believers came to after leaving their apostate denominations. Over the years they’ve attracted more people and even though they have consistently taught about sin and salvation, and the need to be born again, some who came to them responded to the gospel message and some didn’t.

The ones who didn’t respond grew tired of hearing about it and began drifting away to the emerging churches where sin and salvation aren’t talked about so much and where attending church felt more exciting to them.  The emerging church movement talks about the need to be followers of Christ, not just believers, and places great emphasis on the so-called social gospel. Their leaders tap into the youthful energy of their followers with endless ministry programs that keep the membership busy and fulfilled. The fact that many of their “Christ followers” aren’t saved doesn’t seem to trouble them.

That brings us back to the definition of apostasy. Remember, apostasy is when someone says they believed in a particular religion in the past, but later left that religion, and either said they no longer believed in it, or else they never really did believe in it.

The operative phrase is never did. Now don’t misunderstand me here. I’m making general observations about these groups. I know there are born again believers among the population of denominational Christians and there are born again believers among those who attend emerging churches.

But for the most part, when the liberal denominations went apostate the pastors and members who stayed never did believe in the need to be born again. It was the true believers who left.

The opposite was the case with the evangelical churches. Most of those who left to join the emerging church never did believe in the need to be born again either. It was the true believers who stayed.

But the end result was the same.  Whether they stayed as in the first case, or left as in the second, they weren’t falling away from their faith, because it was a faith they had never embraced. Remember, Paul quoted the Holy Spirit in saying that in later times some would abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons (1 Tim. 4:1).  He didn’t say they would abandon “their faith” which would have implied it was something they personally held, he said they would abandon “the faith”, meaning the faith held in common by born again believers.

And in 2 Timothy 3:5 he said these people will have a form of godliness but will deny its power. This describes the Christians in name only, since born again believers cannot deny the power of God in their lives.

How Do You Know These Things?

How can we be sure that true believers are not abandoning their faith? First, we’ll look at a couple of overview statements. In John 5:24 Jesus said,
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned but has crossed over from death to life.”
Notice He didn’t say “will have eternal life”, he said “has eternal life”.  Whoever hears the word of the Lord and believes in what He did for us already has eternal life. In John 6:37-40 He said,
“All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

Put into the shepherd/sheep analogy, if we ask to join the Father’s flock, He will entrust us to the care of His son, the Good Shepherd, who has promised not to drive any of us away or lose any of us. That means even if we wander off, as sheep are prone to do, He will go after us and bring us back (Luke 15:3-4).

Finally, in John 10:27-30 Jesus said no one could snatch us out of either His or His Father’s hand. (It doesn’t say no one but us.) Everyone who joins the Father’s flock is part of that flock forevermore. Paul explained how this happens.

Remember, in Ephesians 1:13-14 he said we were included in Christ when we heard the gospel of our salvation and believed it.  At that time we received the seal of the Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.  There’s not a word anywhere in the New Testament about the seal being broken, or the deposit being returned, or the inheritance being canceled, and here’s why.

In 1 Cor 6:19-20 he said we are not our own but have been bought with a price.
In 2 Cor. 1:21-22 he said it’s God who makes us stand firm in Christ.  He anointed us,  set His seal of ownership on us and put His spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.  So it’s God who bought us, and the price He paid was the blood of His Son (1 Peter 1:18). The Creator of the Universe has made us His own and the decision is irreversible.
God is not a man that He should lie, or the son of a man that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill? (Numbers 23:19)
“I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— I, and not some foreign god among you.You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.  Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand.  When I act, who can reverse it?” (Isaiah 43:12-14)

As the tide of public opinion turns against the acceptability of being a Christian, two things are happening. Those who are truly born again are moving closer to God and to each other, and those who are Christian in name only are embracing the ways of the world and completing their move away from the faith they never embraced. It’s the latter group that constitutes the Great Apostasy and is the fulfillment of 2 Thes. 2:3. 10-19-13

Saturday, November 15, 2014

What's Your Flight Schedule?

Reblogged from Serve Him in the Waiting
Wendy Wippel

The most divisive argument, arguably, among evangelical Christians today is the ongoing debate about when Jesus will return for His bride: before, during, or after the tribulation.  Proponents of each theory have lists of supporting verses, many from the Old Testament.   But actually, you can settle the argument with just the first chapter of Revelation.
The key is (shocker) to really read what it says, and we’ll take it slow: Verse 1:
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John."  (Revelation 1:1 NKJV)
We get two things out of that verse. First, it tells us that the purpose of the Book of Revelation is to let us know what is going to happen from the time that John received the revelation until the end of time.
Secondly, it tells us that God is going to convey that information in a not-so-straightforward way. God is going to “signify” it. The meaning of that, however, is unfortunately not necessarily clear to a modern reader. What it means is that God “sign-ified” it. He put it into signs, meaning symbols. Hosea (whose whole book was a giant metaphor of what was to come) tells us that as well:
“I have given symbols through the witness of the prophets.” (Hosea 12:10)
God, through John, begins at the time that John is living on Patmos and relays what will happen for the whole rest of human history, in metaphor.
God starts His narrative like this:
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,”
“What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”
These were real churches, mostly now excavated. But remember God “sign-ified” what was to come, so they are also metaphors. But we’ll get back to that in a minute.
John visions begin with the current conditions, the starting point for “what is to come”.
“I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man…He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.  I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches. (Revelation 1: 12-20)
The man that John saw, obviously, was Jesus, who asks John to record for future generations of believers what he is shown (again, defined as a record of “what is to come”).
Then Jesus defines a couple of the symbols for us. The seven stars that Jesus holds are the angels of the churches, and the seven golden lampstands are the seven churches that Jesus is about to address letters to.

Then come the letters, again, a record of “what is to come”. Letters addressed, specifically, to (in order) Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatyra, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. And as it turns out, the descriptions and names of the churches make it pretty clear how they represent “what is to come”.  Because, in the order presented, the descriptions of the successive churches are a spot-on narrative of church history.

The church began at Pentecost (about 33 AD), and the description of that church in Acts is of fervent faith and faithful love among the brethren. The increasing numbers of completed Jews within the synagogues however, bred tension, as some “saved” Jews demanded that others still keep the Law. The tension eventually led to the council at Jerusalem about 50AD, at which (after Peter’s dream) it was ruled that the law did not need to be kept.  Ephesus means “desired”, God praised their perseverance and love, and His only admonition was to not lose their first love. 

By about 45 AD, however, the growing church was also on the radar of the Roman rulers, and the emperors themselves began persecution of the monotheistic Christians who refused to worship those who ruled them. Nearly all of the apostles were executed by Roman rulers, and many thousands of their brethren. “Smyrna” is related to the word myrrh, an embalming fluid. Jesus’ message to that church is to be faithful until death, and they will never die again.

Next in line is Pergamum. Pergamum means “mixed marriage”, and in 315 persecution stopped because Constantine, the current emperor, made Christianity an acceptable state religion. That was the good news. The bad news is that his decision really honked off the existing system of pagan priests, so Constantine then merged the pagan church with the Christians, producing one mongrel religious system riddled with pockets of heresy. God’s message to the church at Pergamum is that they now dwell where Satan’s throne is, and that have to show the heresy creeping in no tolerance.

It got worse. The next church, Thyatira, is told that, though there works are admirable, they have let heresy take over, and:
“Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come. (Revelation 2:24-25)
Thyatira means perpetual sacrifice, which should give you a clue where we are in church history. The Roman Empire had collapsed by about 476 AD, but the church by then had spread throughout the Roman Empire. The Roman church, which had completely internalized many of the pagan practices introduced by the pagan Roman priests (transubstantiation, for example) rule the thrones of most Roman nations throughout the Middle Ages.

The next church, Sardis, which means “those who escape”, had a fairly definite starting point: October 31, 1517. Martin Luther nails his 95 theses to the door of a church in Wittenburg, Germany, contending that salvation is attained not through works, but through faith alone, which marked the beginning of the reformation and the founding of the protestant movement. New believers spread across Europe, and then across the world.  But not all is well.  God tells Sardis that He has,
"not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent."
Their works weren’t complete. What does that mean? If you’ve ever read anything besides Luther’s 95 theses, you probably suspect Luther was one of the most viciously anti-Semitic clerics that ever lived. So the church still needed to realize that God’s plans for rest of world history would center not on the church, but on Israel. (which makes it interesting that in Verse 3 God told them to “remember how you have received and heard”  And that the Bible wasn’t actually, all about personal perfection.,. So His message to Sardis was,
"Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain that are ready to die”.
The sixth church is the church in Philadelphia, which most of us know means “City of Brotherly Love. Luther posted his 95 theses in 1517; by about 1570, Bibles were being printed in English. With Bibles in their own language in their own hands, new believers rapidly realized that the Bible had lots more in it than rules. They rediscovered prophecy (part of the reason you tend here that the rapture was invented about this time) and the importance of Israel in God’s world plan. The Philadelphia church is commended for their works, including suffering under persecution and preserving the Word. They had a fire to see the whole world hear the wonderful truths they had discovered in their Bibles, and they went all over the world (including the Pilgrims, to the United States, to share God’s love). They are also told that God loves them, and because they have kept His commands to persevere, He will keep them from the hour of trial that is coming upon the whole world.
Finally, Laodicea.  We all know that God had nothing but condemnation for this church, even saying that they Laodicea made Him want to vomit. But the real depth of their heresy often escapes us: Jesus tells this church,
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
Jesus is outside of this church. Completely.  And that tells us something too.
But we’ll get back to that in just a minute.  First, let’s make sure we are on the same page.
Revelation 1 first tells us that it is a record of what’s to come, in metaphors. Then it sets the scene at the starting point. (Chapter 1)  Then the letters to the seven churches (as metaphors), lay down all of world history, through the lens of the church, from the Roman Empire until the founding of the United States (Philadelphia) and beyond, with the rise of apostasy within the church, which we see accelerating in our own day. (Chapters 2 and 3)
So were are ready for chapter 4:
"After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne."
John watches events on Earth until at least our time, then a door opens in heaven, then he hears a voice saying, “come up here”. Then he’s in heaven, and he watches the last seven years from there. 
This should be starting to seem familiar.
If you missed it, God makes sure we don’t:
"And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God." 
Do you remember what the lampstands were in Chapter 1? The churches. Why would this verse say lamps instead of lampstands?
You are the light of the world.  Lamps are not put under a basket, but on a stand, “and it gives light to all who are in the house”.  (Matthew 5:15)
The lamps needed stands on earth, to be a light to the world. After the churches “come up here” and are in heaven, they do not. They are the seven spirits of God. 
And why are all seven of the churches there? I Thessalonians 4: 16: 'the dead in Christ will rise first".  All the past church saints precede us.  We will all go together when we go.
Bottom line? God snatches us out “after these things” - the seven church ages—and before the Tribulation. If not, since the rest of Revelation 1 describes events is strict chronological sequence, surely John would have watched tribulation events described in Revelation from Earth as well.

Furthermore, since God is completely outside of the church at Laodicea, that has to mean that, the Philadelphia church is gone.  That they have been airlifted ahead of Tribulation (as promised in Revelation 3:10) in the Rapture. 
That’s only one of many, many passages that make pre-trib rapture a certainty, but I’m sure that some of my readers will still have their list of post-trib rapture proof texts to show me. To them, I’ll just borrow a line from a good friend of mine.
Never mind.
We’ll explain it on the way up.
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