Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Day of the Rapture - By Daniel Payne -
Thinking of the Lord's coming rapture does not produce terror for true believers. It is a hope that produces excitement and comfort for those eagerly anticipating His return.
"Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18).
In the verses above, taken from the fourth chapter of Paul's first letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul revealed the wonderful "mystery" (1 Corinthians 15:51) of the Rapture of the Church. In the time period after the Thessalonians received Paul's first letter, they suffered even more severe persecution.
This intense persecution suffered by the Thessalonians caused them to be deceived into thinking that they were experiencing the first phase of the Day of the Lord, the time of God's wrath which takes place during the entire Tribulation.
After receiving word of the deception being propagated among the church at Thessalonica by false teachers that the Day of the Lord had already begun, Paul wrote a second letter to the Thessalonians:
"Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come" (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2).
You may ask, if the Thessalonians believed that the Rapture takes place at the end of the Tribulation, why would they be so troubled if they believed that the return of the Lord Jesus and the Rapture was near? After all, the Lord Jesus Himself said that He would return on the clouds with power and great glory:
"Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory" (Luke 21:27).
Shouldn't they have been looking forward to this instead of back to the beginning of the Day of the Lord?
The Lord Jesus encouraged those who would see the Day of the Lord "begin" to happen to look to the skies for their redemption with Him:
"Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near" (Luke 21:28).
Again, why would the Thessalonians be so upset if they expected the Lord Jesus to arrive at the end of the Tribulation? Wouldn't they be looking forward to His soon return, knowing that the clock had started and His return was very near?
Could it be that instead of being dismayed that the Lord would soon return to Rapture them, that they were actually upset that they had missed His return for them?
"If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:3).
The Thessalonians also knew that Jesus said there was a way of escape:
"Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36).
Paul had already explained to the Thessalonians in his first letter to them that they would not be caught off guard by the arrival of the Day of the Lord:
"But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, 'Peace and safety!' then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape" (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3).
The Thessalonians knew that it was the children of the night who would be caught off guard and would "not escape" the sudden destruction. They knew that the Lord Jesus had told them to watch "and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things."
They expected the Day of the Lord to arrive during a time of peace, not persecution. That's why they were confused and deceived into thinking, based upon the persecution they were currently suffering, that the Day of the Lord had already arrived, catching them off guard, and they did not escape.
Remember, Paul spoke of the Rapture of the Church in the verses just before he told the Church that she would not have to be caught off guard by the return of Jesus, in 1 Thessalonians 4:17-5:4. Imagine no chapter break between these verses.
Paul also said that the world will be in a state of false peace when the Day of the Lord begins. He said that the Day of the Lord begins unexpectedly like a thief striking in the night, because the world will believe that it has achieved some sort of "peace and safety;" therefore, they will not be expecting an imminent cataclysmic event.
The world will be caught off guard in regard to the Day of the Lord; however, true believers will not.
If, as some say, the Rapture of the Church takes place at the end of the Tribulation, wouldn't it mean that during the Rapture the Lord Jesus will descend to the earth after the Battle of Armageddon and begin the Judgment of the Nations (Matthew 25:31-46), and subsequently begin His in-Person reign?
If the Thessalonians expected Jesus to return to the earth at the Rapture, then why weren't they ever more earnestly looking for His visible return? Why didn't Paul, in an effort to reassure and comfort, reaffirm to them all of the rules on how to survive the Tribulation by denying the antichrist, and not being deceived by false miracles, etc.?
Another indicator of a Pre-Trib Rapture: Did Paul tell us to ridicule and shame each other in regards to the coming of the Lord? No, he did not.
How "comforting" is it to run around ridiculing and mocking everyone who is looking for Jesus to return at any moment? It's almost as if some people enjoy "warning" those of us who hope in the return of Christ that we are going to be shamed when the Tribulation begins, and that we will have to suffer right alongside everyone else who hates our Lord.
How many times did Paul tell us to comfort one another instead of ridicule each other in regards to the return of the Lord? How many times did Paul try to comfort us?
"Therefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
"Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing" (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
"Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work" (2 Thessalonians 2:15-17).
The Thessalonians believed Paul when he told them that they were not appointed to suffer the wrath of the Day of the Lord. What began as a comfort to them was twisted into deception. That's why they were so upset when they were deceived, no doubt through mocking and ridicule, into believing that they had missed the Rapture.
That is also why it is much more likely that Paul appealed to the Thessalonians that the Day of the Lord had not yet begun, on the basis that the Rapture will take place before the Tribulation:
"Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come" (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2).
"For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
Strong's 4991 Cognate: sōtēría (from 4982 /sṓzō, "to save, rescue") - salvation, i.e. God's rescue, which delivers believers out of destruction and into His safety.
Maybe today is the Day of the Rapture.
The Least in the Kingdom Is Still IN the Kingdom - Jack Kinsella - www.omegaletter.com
One of the objections offered in response to the position that God's grace is greater than all our sin refers to the passages in Scripture that enumerate specific sins together with the warning that those that commit these specific sins "shall not inherit the Kingdom."
The objection in part, reads this way:
"Paul says in several verses in Corinthians, and Galatians that some behaviors will keep us from inheriting the Kingdom.
First, I assume he means the Kingdom of Heaven. Second, I assume he means if we are doing those things and don't stop, we cannot inherit the Kingdom.
These are very difficult verses for me. He is clear and specific. If doing these things will keep one from inheriting the kingdom, and a person is claiming to be saved, but continues to do them anyway, is Paul a liar if he says you can't go to Heaven if you do these things?"
In the end, the questioner asks, "Wouldn't it be better to choose not to sin?" These are fair questions -- especially that last one, so I will start with it.
Q. "Wouldn't it be better to choose not to sin?" A. "Yes." Gee, that sounds easy. Doesn't it?
But Adam and Eve found it a bit more difficult than that. They were created perfect, without an ingrained sin nature, and they only had one commandment to obey.
Their commandment was clear and specific:
"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Genesis 2:17)
They didn't have to worry about graven images, or keeping the Sabbath or not stealing or bearing false witness . . . they only had one commandment and it was a singular negative.
"You can do anything. Nothing is forbidden, except for this one, little, insignificant command NOT to eat from this one little tree."
That was it. One little commandment. Not ten. Just one.
Adam and Eve did NOT live in a sin-sick, demon-infested, fallen world filled with temptations specifically designed to trigger an in-bred, universal sin nature. They lived in perfect fellowship with God, with Whom they walked in the Garden in the cool of the evening.
Wouldn't it have been better if they had chosen not to sin?
What if God gave them a second chance? Suppose God said, "Ok, you guys are new here. I didn't tell you about the serpent. You aren't very sophisticated -- of course you were blindsided. Now you know the difference between good and evil. So what? Let's just forget about this time and move on. Go, and sin no more."
Clearly, the option not to sin is always there. But man's nature is what it is. We are sinners by nature. It is what we do. It defines us. We are the only natural, created beings that are capable of sin. It is what defines us -- it is what separates us from the lower order of mammals.
My dog cannot sin. She can do things that are against the rules, and she can do them willfully, but she cannot sin. She knows only what is forbidden, not why. She feels no guilt when she disobeys. She has no individual self-awareness.
Sinning is what we do. NOT sinning is unnatural, which is why the "natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14)
However, when we become saved, we receive an additional component -- a "quickened" spirit, at which time we become a NEW creature, (2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15). The new creature is capable of receiving the things of God, but the new creature continues to reside inside the old one.
"I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members."
This is the dual nature of the Christian -- a supernaturally quickened new creature temporarily trapped inside the old one. Literally, it is the spirit of life trapped inside a body of death.
"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." (Romans 7:21-25)
Wouldn't it be easier just to choose not to sin? One would think so. But no human being in the history of man, from Adam until now, (excepting the man, Jesus Christ) ever managed to pull it off.
Including the Apostle Paul . . . which brings us to the second objection, to wit: "Is Paul a liar if he says you can't go to Heaven if you do these things?"
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6:10-11)
Let's begin with the most obvious issue. Who are the unrighteous? Are they those that do the things enumerated on that list? Does that mean a fifteen year old girl that never did any of these things is righteous?
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" (Romans 3:10)
So even if one never committed fornication, idolatry, adultery, self-abuse, theft, was never covetous, never took a drink, never said anything evil of someone else or ever committed extortion, such a one was already unrighteous, according to Romans 3:10.
How does one become righteous?
"For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." (Romans 4:3)
"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." (Romans 4:5)
"Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works . . ." (Romans 4:6)
"And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness." (Romans 4:22)
So, the unrighteous that do all these things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But unto the unrighteous that believe, God imputes righteousness.
"Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences and was raised again for our justification." (Romans 4:23:25)
So, righteousness is imputed unto the unrighteous, by believing in Him that was delivered for our offenses and raised again for our justification." Works -- bad OR good, cannot be relevant if salvation comes by faith alone.
Now, what about Galatians 5:19-21? Paul here is addressing the works of the flesh. Saved people are still 'in the flesh' until they take their last breath. (Romans 7:25)
"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
Go back to the top of the passage.
"Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." (Galatians 5:4)
Does this mean that somebody who is justified by the law and "fallen from grace" has lost their salvation? No. It says that if you seek to be justified by the law, then you haven't sought justification by grace.
The odd thing about teaching eternal security is that it almost sounds like one is defending a RIGHT to sin, rather than acknowledging the reality that sin is part of being in the flesh, and that in the flesh "dwelleth no good thing, for to will is present with me." (Romans 7:18)
Because it sounds like a defense of sin, it is easy to argue against it. That's what makes the simplicity of Christ so complicated.
Sin is not all right. Sin is not good. Sin is not ok with God. Sin has no defense. Neither does a sinner. That's why we need a Savior.
Sin has consequences, here on earth, at the Bema Seat before Christ, and subsequently into eternity in heaven. Not everybody will be made a ruler over ten kingdoms, or ten cities.
But everybody who stands before the Bema Seat is saved.
In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord Jesus pronounced blessings, or beatitudes, for certain groups of individuals.
Note with me that all of them are future tense -- "they SHALL be" comforted, they SHALL inherit the earth, be filled, obtain mercy, see God, be called the children of God, etc.
ALL of them, that is, except two.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs IS the kingdom of heaven."
Notice that the rest will inherit the Kingdom, but that the poor in spirit ALREADY have. The Expositor's Bible Commentary defines the "poor in spirit" this way:
"To be poor in spirit is not to lack courage but to acknowledge spiritual bankruptcy. It confesses one's unworthiness before God and utter dependence on Him."
That does not sound like the kind of person that believes his eternity is settled according to his ability to choose not to sin.
The second group that have ALREADY inherited the Kingdom of Heaven are "those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs IS the kingdom of heaven."
Is the Lord talking about personal righteousness? Well, let's put it another way. Is there such a thing as personal righteousness? I believe that is an issue asked and answered already.
Either there is NONE righteous -- or there is. Which is it? BOTH cannot be true.
"Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." (Matthew 11:11)
So he that is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is already greater than was John the Baptist. So it would appear that being the least in the Kingdom of Heaven, one is still IN Heaven. How does one become called "the least" in the Kingdom?
"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:19-20)
Those that are saved, but that break the commandments and teach others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven, but they will still BE in Heaven.
Again, explaining the doctrine of eternal security is not an ENDORSEMENT of sin, but a recognition of reality. All men sin, including saved Christians. So if the standard for salvation is to trust Jesus AND sin no more, heaven will be empty.
And if sin is on a sliding scale, that is to say, some saved sinners will go to heaven but other saved sinners will not, based on HOW sinful they are, then the standard for righteousness is not by faith alone, but by faith plus UNDEFINED works.
Sin is a "work" -- it is something you have done -- nobody else can sin for you. Sin is your work and yours alone. God doesn't make you sin. Neither does Satan. Only you. Sin is the most intimate and private of all human endeavors.
If your salvation is dependent on your works, then so is your righteousness. If your works can make you unrighteous, then you are NOT clothed in the righteousness of Christ, you are clothed in your own.
Any other understanding makes both you AND Satan more powerful than Jesus, since Satan can trick you into sinning, whereas the Bible says that having paid the penalty for all sin once and for all, Jesus sat down at the right Hand of the Father. (Hebrews 10:12)
In the final analysis, salvation is so simple that it is too complicated for us to grasp intellectually. That is why the Lord says we must have the faith of a child. A child doesn't wonder if he deserves what his father provides for him.
"Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein."
It would be better to simply choose not to sin. Indeed, Christians make that choice every day. Except for the times that we don't. And that is why we need a Savior. Not just at the point of salvation, but for every single step that we take in our walk with Him.
"Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6)
Salvation cannot work any other way.
News from Hal Lindsey Media Ministries - Hal Lindsey -
When the Lord called me to the prophetic ministry many decades ago, I knew that while the "big news" was the Good News, it would be carried in on ever-increasing waves of bad news.
The "big news" is that Jesus Christ is coming back and He's coming back soon. I believe that the Bible indicates that many of those of the generation that saw Israel become a nation in 1948 will still be alive at the coming of the Lord. That's the Good News.
But I've reached the conclusion that we're in the final days of the Church Age by watching the onrush of the "signs of the times" as detailed by Jesus Himself -- all of which are "bad news" events. Of course, these include things like earthquakes, famines, plagues, global weather pattern changes, ethnic strife, hot wars, cold wars, and the global rejection of Biblical truth.
But unfolding Bible prophecy is not all "doom and gloom." It's a little like having major surgery. You know it's necessary and when it's over you'll be much better off, but still, you know it's going to hurt. We know that what awaits the child of God on the other side of this life will be worth all of the sacrifice and discomfort that is hurtling toward us.
Because time is short and there is so much to lose, God called "watchmen" to stand on the wall, as it were. We are to watch for approaching danger and sound the alarm to warn the oblivious townsmen, the blissfully ignorant.
There is a special crown -- or reward -- promised to those who answer the calling and faithfully warn those around them that, according to the "signs of the times," Jesus Christ's return is fast approaching.
I know that many of you are called of God to be "watchmen" in these last days. Don't make light of that burden you carry. It's important that the blissfully ignorant hear and are stirred from their apathy. It may not be pleasant to sometimes be considered the bearer of bad tidings. It may be frustrating, even frightening, but God knew you could handle it. That's why He called you.
Be like Moses, whom God said chose to "endure ill-treatment" because he considered the "reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward." (Hebrews 11:24-26)
And what is it that the Church -- or all true believers -- is watching and preparing for? The "Blessed Hope" that the Apostle Paul describes in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. Someday soon, Jesus Christ is going to leave heaven and call for those who are watching for His return to leave this earth and meet Him in the air. This even includes those who have died during this Church Age.
According to Paul, when Christ calls us, those believers who have died will be resurrected and those of us still alive will be instantly transformed from mortal to immortal. We'll all join Him in the air between heaven and earth and be swept into heaven with our Savior.
Those who are left behind will be the ones who experience the "Day of the Lord," which begins with the great Tribulation. You don't want anyone you know or love to be in that number. And God doesn't, either. That's why He needs you to sound the alarm as a "watchman."
And how do you make certain you're ready to experience the "Blessed Hope" and miss the "Day of the Lord?" Simple.
Recognize that you're a sinner who has fallen short of the standard that God has set. (Every human being has!) Confess your sinfulness and ask God to forgive you. Accept the free gift of pardon that Jesus Christ purchased for you with His atoning death on the Cross. Believe God's promise ("...whosoever believes in Him shall not die but have everlasting life." - John 3:16) and receive His pardon in your heart. Then ask God to make of you what He wants you to be. Thank Him for giving you eternal life with Him.
You are now a part of God's forever family and have just changed your eternal destiny. Now, you are one of those watching for the "Blessed Hope."
Don't miss this week's Report on TBN, Daystar, CPM Network, various local stations, www.hallindsey.com or www.hischannel.com . Please check your local listings.
How old was Billy Graham when he died? - By Michael Hile -
William Franklin "Billy" Graham Jr. was born on November 7, 1918 at 3:30 PM in Charlotte, North Carolina and died at his home in Montreat, North Carolina on February 21, 2018 at 7:33 AM at the age of 99.1 According to the way mortality records are currently kept, a person's life begins on the day they are born, and it ends on the day they die. God, however, looks at the lifespan of mankind on earth differently from the secular world and reveals His view of the beginning of life repeatedly in His written Word, the Bible.
The term "seed" is used in the Bible, frequently in the book of Genesis, to refer to the basic unit of life from which all life, including plants and animals, emanates. The word "seed" is also used in both the singular and plural form to refer to people and their descendants (Genesis 1:11, 4:1, 25). What modern, human, reproductive biology calls an "egg" in the female and a "sperm" in the male, is referred to as a "seed" rather extensively throughout the Old and New Testaments. It is inferred that life begins at conception, when the male and female seeds unite before entering the womb, and not after the birth of the child, as some in the secular world would have you believe (Psalm 139:13-17).
The Conception and Birth of Jesus
"But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.'" Matthew 1:20
"Then the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus....' Then Mary said to the angel, 'How can this be, since I do not know a man?' And the angel answered and said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.'" Luke 1:30-37
"So it was, that while they were there, [Bethlehem] the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn...And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb." Luke 2:6, 21
The Conception and Birth of John the Baptist
"There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years...Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, 'Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb...' So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, 'Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.'" Luke 1:5-7, 11-15
"Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.
And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.'" Luke 1:39-44
"Now Elizabeth's full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her. So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. His mother answered and said, 'No; he shall be called John.' But they said to her, 'There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.' So they made signs to his father-what he would have him called. And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, 'His name is John.' So they all marveled. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God." Luke 1:57-64
When does Human life Begin?
The Bible's Viewpoint
According to many Old and New Testament Scriptures and specific, Scriptural evidence presented by Matthew and Luke, human life begins at conception and not at the physical birth of a child. Proof of human life beginning at conception is confirmed by the "angel of the Lord" when he proclaims that Elizabeth's son John would be "filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb..." (Luke 1:11-15). If John's life had been terminated in his mother's womb, prior to his birth, Jesus would not have been able to say "among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist..." (Matthew 11:11, Luke 7:28). Was John alive and a developing person in his mother's womb before he was born? The words spoken by the angel sent from God and Jesus' words confirm that John (the Baptist) was a living person in his mother's womb before he was born and was not just a clump of insignificant cells as some incorrectly claim. Does anyone alive today believe they were not a human being in development before they were born?
The Scientific Viewpoint
When does the secular, scientific, and medical world believe that human life begins? There has been great scientific advancement in the biological and reproductive life sciences in the past century that has helped improve the understanding of human life- especially its creation and development. Credible, scientific, medical research reveals conclusively that human life begins at conception, which is in complete agreement with the teachings in the Bible.
According to the American College of Pediatricians: "The predominance of human biological research confirms that human life begins at conception-fertilization." 2
"Development begins at fertilization when a sperm fuses with an ovum to form a zygote; this cell is the beginning of a new human being." 3
"After fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being...[this] is no longer a matter of taste or opinion, it is not a metaphysical contention, it is plain experimental evidence...." 4
"An individual human life begins at conception when a sperm cell from the father fuses with an egg cell from the mother, to form a new cell, the zygote, the first embryonic stage. The zygote grows and divides into two daughter cells, each of which grows and divides into two grand-daughter cells, and this cell growth/division process continues on, over and over again. The zygote is the start of a biological continuum that automatically grows and develops, passing gradually and sequentially through the stages we call fetus, baby, child, adult, old person and ending eventually in death. The full genetic instructions to guide the development of the continuum, in interaction with its environment, are present in the zygote. Every stage along the continuum is biologically human and each point along the continuum has the full human properties appropriate to that point." 5
"A neutral examination of the evidence merely establishes the onset of a new human life at a scientifically well-defined "moment of conception," a conclusion that unequivocally indicates that human embryos from the one-cell stage forward are indeed living individuals of the human species; i.e., human beings." 6
The Length of Human Pregnancies
The terms "pregnancy" and "gestation" refer to "the process of carrying or being carried in the womb between conception and birth." 7 How long is the human pregnancy process? A report produced by Oxford University Press reveals the following:
"...researchers in the USA have been able to pinpoint the precise point at which a woman ovulates and a fertilized embryo implants in the womb during a naturally conceived pregnancy, and follow the pregnancy through to delivery. Using this information, they have been able to calculate the length of 125 pregnancies. "We found that the average time from ovulation to birth was 268 days - 38 weeks and two days," said Dr. Anne Marie Jukic, a postdoctoral fellow in the Epidemiology Branch at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (Durham, USA), part of the National Institutes for Health.8 One online encyclopedia puts the average length of pregnancy at 270 days with the minimum length at 259 days. 9 Another source puts the average pregnancy length at 266 days. 10
The three sources cited above give the average human pregnancy length as 268, 270, and 266 days, respectively. The median number of days from ovulation to birth is 268 days in these three sources, which also coincides with the average length of pregnancy found in Dr. Jukic's research.
The Conception and Birth of Billy Graham
This is not an attempt to draw a comparison between the life of Billy Graham and the supernatural intervention of God in the life of Jesus and John the Baptist (Matthew 3:17, 11:11). Rather, the beginning of physical life in the wombs of both Mary and Elizabeth were at conception and not when Jesus and John were physically birthed into the world. As mentioned earlier, Dr. Billy Graham died on February 21, 2018 at the age of 99. If he had lived another 260 days to his birth date on November 7, 2018, he would have been 100 years old, according to the way mortality records are maintained today by funeral homes and published in newspapers.
Both Biblical and scientific evidence points toward life beginning at conception. As we learned earlier, the average length of pregnancy from conception to birth is around 268 days but can vary several days in either direction depending upon a variety of factors. Backing up chronologically, 268 days from Billy Graham's birth on November 7, 1918 gives a possible conception date of February 13, 1918 for the real beginning of Billy Graham's life on this earth.
Although God alone knows the actual date of conception for Billy Graham, it is probable that his real life on earth began sometime during the first three weeks of February, 1918, and he was born around nine months later on November 7, 1918. It is even possible that his life could have begun on the same month and day that it ended. Although the world considered Billy Graham to be 99 when he died on November 21, 2018, from God's viewpoint, he had probably already arrived at the century mark (100 years). God permitted Billy Graham to live 20 to 30 years beyond today's normal life span of 70 to 80 years (Psalms 90:9-10) in order to preach the saving gospel of Jesus Christ to many people in the world and to complete the marvelous plan for his life that God had ordained (Ephesians 2:10, 2 Timothy 4:5-8, Psalm 37:23). Billy Graham, like the Apostle Paul, was ready to go Home!
Before Billy Graham left this world to become a citizen in the heavenly, New Jerusalem (John 14:1-3, Revelation 21:1-4), he gave this encouraging exhortation to his audience: "Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don't you believe a word of it! I shall be more alive then than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God."
"But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing." 2 Timothy 4:5-8
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way." Psalm 37:23
1) Details on Billy Graham's passing, funeral service released, USA Today Network, John Boyle, Asheville (N.C.) https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/02/21/details-billy-grahams-passing-funeral-service-released/361780002/
2) When Human Life Begins, American College of Pediatricians - March 2017, https://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/life-issues/when-human-life-begins
3) Moore, Keith L., The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, page 12, W.B. Saunders Co., 2003 https://www.justthefacts.org/get-the-facts/when-life-begins/
4) Dr Jerome LeJeune, Professor of Genetics at the University of Descartes, Paris, discoverer of the chromosome pattern of Down's Syndrome, and Nobel Prize Winner, Report, Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, 97th Congress, 1st Session 1981 https://www.justthefacts.org/get-the-facts/when-life-begins/
5) Dr. William Reville, University College Cork, Ireland. Quote from a letter to the Irish Independent. https://www.justthefacts.org/get-the-facts/when-life-begins/
6) A Scientific View of When Life Begins, Maureen Condic, Ph.D. | June 11, 2014 https://lozierinstitute.org/a-scientific-view-of-when-life-begins/ *Dr. Condic is Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She is also Director of Human Embryology instruction for the Medical School and of Human Neuroanatomy for the Dental School.
7) Powered by Oxford Dictionaries, https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/gestation )
8) Length of human pregnancies can vary naturally by as much as five weeks, Oxford University Press (OUP), https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130806203327.htm ) Journal Reference: A.M. Jukic, D.D. Baird, C.R. Weinberg, D.R. McConnaughey, A.J. Wilcox. Length of human pregnancy and contributors to its natural variation. Human Reproduction, 2013 DOI: 10.1093/humrep/det297
9) List of mammalian gestation durations, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mammalian_gestation_durations )
10) Human Pregnancy Length vs. Some Pets and Animals, https://www.vaughns-1-pagers.com/biology/gestation-periods.htm )
Unless otherwise noted, all scriptures are from the New King James Version of the Bible (NKJV).
Daily Jot: The no gun crisis - Bill Wilson -
In the spirit of "never waste a good crisis," the radical left, which has become most of the Democratic Party leadership, has successfully instigated the perception of a dire need to ban guns. The school shooting in Florida is the latest reason. Unfortunately, Washington politicians on both sides of the political spectrum are falling victim to the mantra and are thinking of anti-gun legislation that bans certain sales of guns and stocks, among other things. The problem is that their efforts do nothing, absolutely nothing, to stop gun violence. It is window-dressing on one hand so they can say they did something. On the other, it's another sinister step toward undermining the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.
No matter what these knee-jerk lefties and disarmament conspirators say, the mentally ill and malevolent will do their dirty deeds with guns or without. The problem with school shootings and other mass shootings cannot be solved in this society by banning guns. There have been many suggestions including arming responsibly trained teachers, establishing secure parameters around schools with single points of entry, and heavier security at schools. But no amount of common sense can appeal to those set on banning guns. The end of gun ownership in America, to them, is the only way to solve the problem. To some, they are not thinking clearly about the consequences. Others embrace the consequences.
The Founding Fathers provided the 2nd Amendment because they had a healthy dislike for tyranny. They knew that an armed citizenry ultimately would keep a government in check. History may show that this is proven even as late as 2016, where political and government forces, under the cunning guidance of the ex "president" and the Clinton campaign, attempted to undermine a duly elected president, even to the point of overthrowing him before he officially took office. Think of how this could have come down if the military had been under the ex "president's" control and the citizenry was unarmed. Can we say North Korea, China, Russia, Iran-just to name a few?
We have no gun crisis. It's a "dumb" crisis. People are dumbed down into thinking they cannot defend themselves and that the only answer is banning guns. When only criminals can get guns this is what happens: Baltimore had 343 murders last year. In Chicago, despite police confiscating 600 guns a month, there are over 250 victims of shootings-a month! Chicago and Baltimore are good examples of bad ideas on banning guns. The right to protect and defend life is as old as the Bible. Exodus 22:2 says, "If a thief be found breaking in, and shall be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him." Proverbs 24:11 says, "Deliver those that are drawn toward death, hold back those that are stumbling to the slaughter." We have a responsibility to defend life. Ensuring evildoers are the only ones with the tools to take life is the true gun crisis.
Daily Devotion: The Key to Contentment - By Greg Laurie -
And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." -Acts 20:35
Jesus said that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Have you found that to be true in your life?
I'm not just speaking of finances; I'm talking about giving in general. We can go through life saying, "I need this," and "What about my needs?" Or we can say, "God has blessed me. He has provided for me. I had a meal this morning. I have clothes on my back. I have a roof over my head. What can I do for someone else?"
The apostle Paul wrote, "Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. . . .You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had" (Philippians 2:3, 5 NLT).
Imagine what would happen by simply applying this to marriage. Instead of looking at your husband or wife and saying, "What can you do for me?" esteem the other person above yourself. Ask yourself, "What can I do to bless this person? What can I do to meet my spouse's needs? Forget about me. I want to focus on my spouse." When two people are living that way, they will have a blessed marriage.
When you go through life saying, "How can I help that person? How can I bless that person?"- when you start thinking of others instead of yourself-one day you will wake up and realize you're a happy person. It won't be because you've chased after the things you thought would fulfill you. Rather, it will be because you have your priorities in order.
Have you discovered the joy of giving? If only we would do things God's way. Then we would be able to say, like Paul, "I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content" (Philippians 4:11).
FROM THE HEART
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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