IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Rapture: Victory in Jesus -by pastor Mike Taylor - https://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2022/02/the-rapture-victory-in-jesus.html
''These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.'' (John 16:33)
According to the publication of the “Word Christian Encyclopedia” which is a comparative survey of churches and religions, that from AD 30 to 2022 “There are 19 major world religions which are subdivided into 270 large religious groups, and many other smaller ones..
For eighteen of the world's major religions and its 270 sub-divisions, the concept of the sudden and instantaneous translation of millions of adherents from one form of existence into the next is completely unheard of. It is even a controversial doctrine within Christianity. There are entire huge subdivisions, or denominations within Christianity that totally dismiss the concept of the Rapture or Harpazo as spoken of by the Apostle Paul in his epistles.
I read on the internet a column which is appropriately named “Againstdispensationalism.com” that argues that the rapture is nothing more than the “arrogance of the West”. So we are the ones who came up with this theory of the instantaneous removal of the Church of the Living God and it was never spoken of until the 1880s by one, John Darby from the rantings of a mentally disturbed young girl, Margaret McDonald....I chose this article because it focuses on why the rapture is so controversial.
In another article, a one Jerry Johnson who is president of some so called Nicene Council, the rapture is nothing more than “paperback theology” and a recent concoction that was never taught by the historic church.
For context, the so called “historic church” is the one that embraces replacement theology and Anti-semitism and my bible is the paperback. Why do I say that? Because it can be easily proven that the 1st century church did indeed teach a sudden “catching away” of the Church of the Living God. I will address that momentarily.
Note this Johnson fellow lashes out that “one is hard pressed to link all of the great minds from St. Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Charles Spurgeon about the so-called coming rapture of the church. As each read 1st Thessalonians 4 and 1stCorinthians 15 where Paul spoke of this “mystery” that had not been revealed to the OT prophets, Paul reveals a teaching that had not been taught, but was learned by revelation of Jesus Christ who taught Paul in the Arabian desert for 3 years after his conversion. Reading the Gospels, Jesus did not teach it, nor any of the apostles, till Paul revealed this information, and modern “theologians” failed to understand the important teachings of a pre-millennial, pre-Tribulation rapture of the church, called the “Harpazo” in scripture when read in Greek. It was Jesus our Lord and Savior's revealing to Paul to tell the world how the redemption of mankind would be accomplished and our Lord coming for His bride at the rapture, before the Tribulation and the outpouring of His wrath on a rebellious world.
This Johnson fellow further denigrates the doctrine of the rapture, calling it “a foundation of conceited theology”. Amazing how those who fail to understand Bible prophecy lash out at things they do not understand. But he gave it his best “Sunday punch”.
3 'Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men' (2nd Peter 3:3-7)
Looking at this Johnson fellow, his main objection, and frankly, the objection of many nay-sayers of the opponents of this doctrine, is the misconception that the rapture is nothing but a “Great Escape”. They reason why do Christians of this age get to escape the Tribulation and the Great Tribulation while others do not? They site that this is not fair, and this would make God unfair.
I wonder sometimes, if they find it equally unfair that some go to heaven and others go to hell. Not being a betting man, but I would wager that they find it totally unfair that God would send anyone to such an awful place called hell, but all would agree that murdering dictators of this age, such as Hitler, or Pol Pot do not deserve to go to heaven. What they fail to realize, God does not send you to hell. You do by rejecting His offer at salvation through Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. God just gives you what you want because of that rejection. Oh, the conflict in their arguments as I go on will prove.
That's why God is God and theologians are not.
LET US DISCUSS WHERE THIS DOCTRINE CAME FROM
As noted, no other religion has anything resembling a Rapture doctrine, including whatever 'historic church' Jerry Johnson was referring to. So where did it come from and why is it there?
The first thing nay-sayers will do is to hopelessly complicate the issue so that whatever they come up with, is practically impossible to decipher.
First let us address where the doctrine actually came from and it wasn't by John Darby, but he did revive the belief that had been squashed during the Dark Ages by none other than the ruling theocracy of the Roman Catholic Church. It was the purpose of this ruling theocracy to blind the population and make them totally dependent on them, not God the Father, or Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
PROPONENTS OF THE HARPAZO
In the first Century, men like Irenaeus (130 A.D. – 202 AD) was a bishop of the church in Lyons, France. He was an eyewitness to the Apostle John (who wrote the Book of Revelation) and a disciple of Polycarp, the first of the Apostle John’s disciples. Irenaeus is most-known for his five-volume treatise, “Against Heresies” in which he exposed the false religions and cults of his day along with advice for how to share the Gospel with those who were a part of them.
In his writings on Bible prophecy, he acknowledged the phrase “a time, times and dividing of times” in Daniel 7 to signify the 3 ½ year reign of the Antichrist as ruler of the world before the Second Coming of Christ. He also believed in a literal Millennial reign of Christ on earth following the Second Coming and the resurrection of the just. In his writings noted above. Irenaeus writes:
““Those nations however, who did not of themselves raise up their eyes unto heaven, nor returned thanks to their Maker, nor wished to behold the light of truth, but who were like blind mice concealed in the depths of ignorance, the word justly reckons “as waste water from a sink, and as the turning-weight of a balance — in fact, as nothing;”(1) so far useful and serviceable to the just, as stubble conduces towards the growth of the wheat, and its straw, by means of combustion, serves for working gold. And therefore, when in the end the Church shall be suddenly caught up from this, it is said, “There shall be tribulation such as has not been since the beginning, neither shall be.”(2) For this is the last contest of the righteous, in which, when they overcome they are crowned with incorruption.”
Irenaeus in this passage describes the church leaving the sinful world just before unprecedented disasters. Note his use of the term “caught up” which is Rapture terminology as that is the meaning of Harpazo, the term for “caught up” in the King James Bible describing the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4. He then quotes Matthew 24:21-22 where The Lord Jesus Christ says: “
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. ”
And it is during this time that those who convert to Christianity during the final years will receive the incorruptible crown mentioned by the Apostle Paul in.1st Corinthians 9:24-25
24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”
In Irenaeus’ belief, the Rapture took place prior to the end times Great Tribulation. (beginningandtheend.com)
This is but one of the early church fathers who believed in the doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture or “catching away” of the Church, as others such as Cyprian and Ephraim the Syrian which wrote:
“With a sense of urgency and strong warning, Ephraim writes that the end times are upon this world and could start at any moment. This text very clearly states the saints and elect of God, all born again believers in The Lord Jesus Christ, will be “taken to the Lord” before the Tribulation. Ephraim also identifies the Old Testament “Day of The Lord” and the end times Great tribulation as the same event (in line with the teachings of the Beginning and End Rapture Series). Ephraim quotes Amos 5:18 which says: “
”Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.”
TWISTING SCRIPTURE TO YOUR OWN END
But if you ignore these early church fathers, that some say was not taught during this period, and their writings disprove this absurd position of the church going through the Tribulation, you can take enough verses from the different places throughout the bible (as I have previously done), and taking them out of context, make a case for Rapture, against a Rapture, for Pre-Tribulation, Mid-Tribulation, Post-Trib, amillennial, premillenial, or post millennial, with or without the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ.
If you do enough research, you will find that there are scholars that adhere to each and every position I have quoted and they have names for them, and I refuse to believe that they hold these varied views without hanging some sort of scripture to hang from them. But of course, they must take them out of context, and twist them to fit their preconceived notions that their position is the true one.
If one disbelieves in the rapture of the Church and believes that it is some kind of “Great Escape,” then it is easy to take verses from all over the Bible to refute it. Not because the Rapture is false doctrine, but because that isn't the purpose of the Rapture and knowing why provides valuable clues to when and how.
THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL NEVER LEAVE US
Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ promised His disciples that when He ascended into Heaven, the Holy Spirit would come upon them and indwell them and empower them. That indwelling Power would come upon and indwell all who believed.
16 “ And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you FOREVER;(my emphasis)
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18)
Jesus promised that “the Comforter” would be with me and those He indwells forever and would never leave us.
SO DID JESUS TELL A WHOPPER? NO!
Let's examine the simplest questions first.
What does it mean when Jesus Christ makes a promise to the Church? Is it reliable? What does "forever" mean? Is there a time constraint on forever? When would forever run out? Does abide forever mean "abide forever for every generation but one?" Meaning our generation as the tribulation begins?
Houston, we have a problem. According to my paperback theology, the Comforter is:
"Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." (John 14:7)
So the Comforter, known as the Holy Spirit of God is the Spirit of Truth and He indwells me. That's what the Bible, my “paperback” theology teaches me which is part one of that promise. Part two of that promises is again in the Gospel of John repeated here:
16, And I will pray the Father, and He sshall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever,
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you." (John 14:16-18)
Jesus plainly told the Apostle John in Revelation 3:
10 “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Revelation 3:10-11)
As I have spoken time and time again, the phrase in that preceding verses is the phrase “KEEP THEE FROM the hour of temptation”...which in Greek is the small, descriptive word “EK”...which if you do a Google search of that word, you will find this definition:
ἐκ • (ek) (governs the genitive) (of place) (of motion) Out of, from, with the source of to denote change from one place or condition to another, to express separation of distinction from a number , (of position) outside, beyond , (of time), from, since, (of particular points of time) just, after, during, in (of origin)
That is a long definition that was taken from a secular publication, but it gives the thought of being separated from the time and place of an event, even as “Harpazo” means being taken by force as Paul spoke of in 1st Corinthians 15 and 1st Thessalonians chp. 4 and ....Jesus told us plainly that we will be removed from the time and place of His coming wrath.
Do you as you read this message, see a contradiction in scripture from what the main stream religions spew out as their version of the Truth? So how do we resolve this obvious contradiction? There is only one way. First one way, is the Holy Spirit indwells me throughout the Tribulation period. Therefore, by the authority of God's Holy Spirit and the Word of God, specifically 1st John that covers that authority:
4 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1st John 4:4-6)
Since the indwelling Holy Spirit is greater than the powers of this world, and since He will never leave me or forsake me during the Tribulation, (if that position were true), then it is not possible that the Anti-Christ to overcome me and the Spirit of Truth indwelling in me, and making me pledge allegiance to him.
But that contradicts Revelation 13:
7 “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.” (Revelation 13:7-9)
For the Anti-Christ to overcome an indwelt child of the Living God, he must defeat the Indweller. Unless the Holy Spirit no longer indwells me. And if He doesn't, did He ever? And if He did, and we know from scripture that all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, receive the Holy Spirit, then where did He go? And if He left me, how then can He do that and not break the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ to not leave us Comfortless? Remember that the Tribulation will be the greatest spiritual trial in all of human history.
And all through the history of the Church Age from those thrown to the lions in the Coll0sseum in Rome, to those that were massacred by ISIS and other terrorist groups in the Middle East recently, had the benefit of the Holy Spirit and I have to go through the Tribulation without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and God will leave me Comfortless when I need Him the most?
Talk about contradictions. How does that work? If the rapture is the “great escape” from Tribulation for Christians, then wouldn't the opposite be when I need God and His support the most in all of human history and my mortal life and is suddenly without warning taken away?
For argument's sake, if I am in the Tribulation and indwelt by God's Holy Spirit, then why are there 144,000 Jewish evangelist, the two witnesses at the temple in Jerusalem, and the angels of God preaching the Gospel to mankind during this time? Is that not my job? What's wrong with using me and others like me who have God's Holy Spirit also? That was the Great Commission delivered to the Apostles by Jesus before He ascended back to the Father:
18 “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
SO WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
If you take the positions noted above, the only one that makes sense and does not contradict what I just spoke of, in that the Holy Spirit will be with me always...and when God pulls His Holy Spirit from holding back rampant evil on this earth, then those who have God's Holy Spirit as a deposit of future glorification, will be removed at the same time. THEN, and only then will God reveal the Anti-Christ as Jesus opens the 1st seal of the title deed of His creation that He has bought with His own blood.
6 “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,” (2ndThessalonians 2:6-9)
The only Power that is holding back rampant evil being loosed on this world during the coming Tribulation, is God's Holy Spirit, and He dwells in every born again, washed in the blood Christian on this planet. And If God's Holy Spirit is being pulled back so that evil on this world can have full sway on an unbelieving, rebellious world, then those who have that deposit of God's Spirit dwelling within our own, will be removed as well. Either that then the Lord Jesus lied, and we know He cannot lie. SO HOUSTON to ground control, we are outta here when Jesus comes for His bride at the rapture.
THE GAP PERIOD BETWEEN RAPTURE & TRIBULATION
How long will the period be between the removal of the Church and the beginning of the Tribulation? It could be immediate, it could be days, or even years, as we are not plainly told. All we know from Revelation chp. 4 forward, that the Saints of God are not called the Church, not one time. They are called the elect or elders. That means, if that amount of time is months or years, then we have less time than what Jesus spoke of in parable of the fig tree.
29 “And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:29-32)
We are that generation that saw the fig tree bloom, which is Israel in 1948. And the Psalms say that a generation is 70 years, 80 years by strength then we fly away, as written in Psalm 90....Note that Israel is 73 years old last year...so if we take the Lord literally, as I believe He was speaking as such, then 80 years is just around the corner. Simple math tells us we are in the last of the last days, and if there is a “gap period” we could be even closer than that. Only God knows.
Repeating that verse for emphasis about the church being removed:
10 "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” Revelation 3:10-11)
Remember all these verses and hold onto them in faith with both spiritual hands and never let go, never waver, but believing.
Note that God will KEEP us from this hour of temptation, or tribulation that will try all who dwell upon the earth....these are called the nations, and they are separate from God's people.
SUMMARY OF WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED
The age of Grace began at Pentecost with the indwelling of God's Holy Spirit on those who accept Jesus as Savior and Lord of their life. That's a given.
God will remove His Holy Spirit back to Pre-Pentecostal times and the Anti-Christ will be revealed as scripture reveals.
Those who have God's Holy Spirit will be removed at the precise time that God pulls back from holding evil at bay and Satan will have full sway over the destiny of mankind to destroy them and those who worship the Beast.
Jesus promised He would never leave us Comfortless, or leave us forever.
Israel is the door to end time prophecy and Jerusalem the key per the fig tree parable Jesus spoke of.
The Anti-Christ, will overcome the saints of the Tribulation, as God's Holy Spirit has been pulled back. The AC cannot overcome the Church, as he can't overcome God, so it is another point for confirmation of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church.
The Promise to the Church is kept precisely as it was given by the Lord Himself.
Now, if one really works at it, one can find creative ways to portray the Rapture as the Great Escape and from there, all kinds of creative ways to dismiss it as paperback theology.
But the simplest answer is still the only one that makes sense using Occam's razor as the simplest answer is probably the most correct. What does the idea of Occam razor tell us? Definition follows:
“Occam's razor. : a scientific and philosophical rule that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily which is interpreted as requiring that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex or that explanations of unknown phenomena be sought first in terms of known quantities.” Sum it up as “keep it simple”...you know the rest.
One other point to consider..…..We all know that when Jesus comes to rule and reign for a 1000 years, that He will destroy all rebellion on earth and change those who are His into immortal/spiritual beings. If those who are in rebellion are destroyed and those who belong to our Lord are changed to spirit beings.. In the Post-Tribulation model, then who is alive to enter the Millennium as mortals? Answer!!..NO ONE...
Jesus is not coming back to rapture the Church, as that has been done 7 years prior, but is coming back to set up His kingdom on earth and those who have survived the “holocaust” of the AC and environmental disaster will repopulate the earth for that 1000 year reign and live extremely long lives, as Jesus will restore this planet as it was in the Garden of Eden and those who lived pre-Antediluvian lived lives approaching 900 years and beyond...The only model that makes sense and lines up with Bible Prophecy is the Pre-Tribulation rapture of the Church.
SO WILL YOU BE LEFT ON YOUR OWN?
It will be the most trying spiritual time in all of mankind's history upon the earth. Many will take the easy way out and be damned because of them taking the Mark of the Beast. Will you, if you be so unfortunate to endure that time?
9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.(Revelation 14:9-11)
It will be a time, when one can actually loose their salvation, because of all the trials and the threats of death by the Anti-Christ and his henchmen and giving in to the command to take the "mark of the beast" so they can live a little longer, or save their loved ones who are threatened with death.
With all the delusions that seem right, but are dead wrong, and those who actually have pleasure in their unrighteousness and think it's party time in the beginning at the rapture, as those who stood in the way of their “Utopia” have been removed.. But quickly will realize that the time comes to be “hell on earth” and there is no party, but severe physical, emotional, and spiritual torment that no man or woman should have to live through. Many will give into the threats forced on them and give into worshiping the Beast of Revelation. As Jesus told us when He spoke to the Church of Smyrna, but is speaking to us, as well:
10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." (Revelation 2:10-11)
The coming Tribulation will be beyond a mortals ability to describe, but since the offer is open and the gift is free, why not take God at His Word and accept His mercy and grace? Avoid something we deserve but do not receive because of His mercy, and receive grace or something we cannot earn, but is given freely by a Loving and Righteous Creator, God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ. His mercy and grace is only a prayer away, when you repent of your sins and take Him at His Word.
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17, or God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18, He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. “ (John 3:16-18)
If you believe the above verses, then confess them to God and make that decision for Christ today.
8 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:8-13)
In the end, let them scoff that it is a “Great Escape” as you and I know that it is not what God has it designed for, but I believe it can be summed up in three words...not the “Great Escape” but “VICTORY IN JESUS”. All we can do is pray for them and witness while we have time the wondrous glory of God's love for all of mankind. We are His ambassadors and it is up to us to reach those around us, our family, our friends, our co-workers, and the man/woman on the street. Jesus is coming soon, so don't be left behind.
This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying you make that decision for Christ today, and join me and others like me when we stand before our Savior. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me at email@example.com, . God bless you all. TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
As Prophesied in Isaiah, Mask Mandates Disappearing in Time for Final Redemption – Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz - https://www.israel365news.com/266101/as-prophesied-in-isaiah-mask-mandates-disappearing-in-time-for-final-redemption/
And He will destroy on this mount the shroud That is drawn over the faces of all the peoples And the covering that is spread Over all the nations Isaiah 25:7 (The Israel BibleTM)
While Canada is being rocked by its largest civilian protest ever (and convos around Israel joined in to show unity), Canadian and Israeli researchers joined in a study of the effects of COVID masks on children. A recent study led by researchers at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba and York University in Toronto found that wearing a mask hindered facial recognition in adults. The recent study concluded that this problem is even worse in children and that this could lead to social difficulties. The study coincides with worldwide mask-mandate reversals. Since the study comes from Israel, this phenomenon could be a fulfillment of a little-known prophecy of Isaiah that is a sign of the final redemption.
THE BEST METHOD FOR MEASURING FACE PERCEPTION
Researchers used a children’s version of the Cambridge Face Memory Test, considered the best method for measuring face perception abilities in humans, to test the children’s ability to recognize faces with and without masks.
The study examined 72 children aged 6 -14, by showing them pictures of faces with or without masks, both upright and inverted.
They found that children’s face-perception abilities were impaired by 20% as compared to about a 15% rate for adults.
THE NATURAL METHOD OF FACIAL RECOGNITION
Mask wearing has made it impossible for children to use the natural method of facial recognition which processes the face as a whole. Instead, the children learned to resort to an analytical approach for facial recognition when most parts of the face are covered.
The researchers wrote that difficulty in facial recognition due to masks in conjunction with social distancing “could potentially impact social interactions with peers and educators, as well as the ability to form important relationships.”
THE HOLISTIC WAY FACES ARE PROCESSED
“Faces are among the most important visual stimuli. We use facial information to determine different attributes about a person, including their gender, age, mood, and intentions. We use this information to navigate through social interactions,” said York University Assistant Professor Erez Freud, the study’s senior author. “Not only do masks hinder the ability of children to recognize faces, but they also disrupt the typical, holistic way that faces are processed.”
The study comes as many local governments in Canada and the US are repealing their mask mandates. On Monday, Oregon, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware announced they will end indoor mask requirements for public places and inside schools.
California, which has enforced draconian pandemic measures until now, just announced they will end their universal indoor mask mandate next week and roll back other restrictions. LA County will continue to enforce the mask mandate.
REMOVING THE MANDATE
When asked on Monday about the lifting of the school mask mandate in New Jersey, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, pointed to C.D.C.’s guidance that masks can reduce virus transmission as justification for continued enforcement.
Though most provinces in Canada are still enforcing mask mandates, Saskatchewan and Alberta are moving to remove the mandate.
Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb in Jerusalem, noted that the Prophet Isaiah predicted that such a study leading to the removal of masks would emerge from Israel. He cited the verse:
And He will destroy on this mount the shroud That is drawn over the faces of all the peoples And the covering that is spread Over all the nations: Isaiah 25:7
The Hebrew word that is translated here as ‘shroud’ is masecha (מַּסֵּכָה) which literally means a mask.
FOCUSED ON ISRAEL
“The Prophet Isaiah is telling us that the key to removing the masks will be focused on Israel, more specifically, Jerusalem,” Rabb Berger said. “Israel is a tiny country but we have played a major role in the global pandemic with the nations watching us carefully. And nothing has united that world like this pandemic. Everyone in the world knows what COVID is. This unifying experience is preparing the world for when ‘God will be One and His name will be One’.”
“Taking off the masks is the first step towards ending the pandemic,” Rabbi Berger said, citing the next verse in Isaiah.
He will destroy death forever. My Hashem will wipe the tears away From all faces And will put an end to the reproach of His people Over all the earth— For it is Hashem who has spoken. Isaiah 25:8
“Isaiah is describing the final ingathering when all the nations come to Jerusalem to praise hashem,” Rabbi Berger said. “But, as the Prophet Isaiah stated, nobody can come to Jerusalem wearing a mask. This is an allegory, meaning that people must come as their true selves, but also literally. We are already seeing that these masks are a visible declaration of a person’s belief. We are already seeing a new global community of people who believe in God who are easily identifiable by not wearing masks.”
End Of Internet Free Speech as We Know It? Content To Be Scanned for Approval – Jason Kelley - https://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=5205
Last year, Apple announced a controversial plan to install photo scanning software in every device. Apple has long been seen as a pro-privacy company--billboards emblazoned with the slogan "What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone" were common sights in 2019. A global coalition pushed back, and the company paused the plan.
Now, Congress wants to force Apple's hand--along with essentially every company that allows users to store or share messages or content--and essentially mandate such scanning.
While Apple's plan would have put the privacy and security of its users at risk, the EARN IT Act compromises security and free speech for everyone. The bill would create serious legal risk for business that hosts content--messages, photos stored in the cloud, online backups--and, potentially, even cloud-hosting sites like those using Amazon Web Services, unless they use government-approved scanning tools.
The bill's proponents claim that this isn't a problem for any service as long as it is scanning files, and then reporting Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) to law enforcement. Internet companies are already required to report suspected CSAM if they come across it, and they report on a massive scale that comes with a lot of mistakes.
Facebook is often held up as a positive example by lawmakers, but while new scanning techniques there have produced many millions of reports, many of them are apparently inaccurate. Federal law enforcement has frequently (mis)used the massive number of reports to suggest there has been a huge uptick in CSAM images. They won't stop there.
Nor will the demands stop at the U.S. border. Once U.S. law enforcement agencies are accustomed to getting a constant stream of reports back from nearly every company hosting or sending content online, other democracies--and then authoritarian regimes--will demand the same tools, and use them to root out dissent. The rules envisioned by EARN IT sponsors don't leave room for any company, small or large, to use uncompromised encryption and protect user privacy.
The bill would also create an unelected federal "commission" headed by the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security, and dominated by law enforcement personnel. This commission would be responsible for setting best practices for tech companies to follow.
It's very likely some states will use that as a basis to create laws enforcing scanning and reporting, upon pain of criminal prosecution and costly civil litigation. Because online companies operate in every state, they'll be required to follow whichever state law is harshest.
In fact, the lawmakers behind this bill have already made the plan clear: in a "Myths and Facts" document about the bill, lawmakers take aim at Amazon, of all companies, for its limited reporting of CSAM:
According to NCMEC's 2020 statistics on reports of the online exploitation of children, while Facebook issued over 20 million reports that year, in contrast Amazon (which hosts a significant percentage of global commerce and web infrastructure) reported 2,235 cases.
As Techdirt's Mike Masnick put it, that's because Amazon and Facebook are in completely different businesses. Facebook's larger number of reports is consistent with its business model of sharing content between users. Meanwhile, Amazon is in the entirely separate web hosting business. Apple, which is also not in the social media business, will no doubt also be in lawmakers' crosshairs.
In a 2019 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on encryption, Senator Graham--a coauthor of the EARN IT Act--told representatives from Apple and Facebook that encryption was not going to block them from access: "You're going to find a way to do this or we're going to go do it for you."
Former Attorney General Bill Barr, who would have headed the commission under the previous administration, specifically clashed with Apple on its encryption and noted he was searching for a legislative solution to allow investigators access to encrypted materials. The EARN IT Act, originally introduced when Barr was still Attorney General, is just that.
EARN IT doesn't specifically attack encryption, but that's because it doesn't have to. Instead, it allows encryption to be used as evidence against a company in order to find it liable for hosting CSAM.
The end result is clear: state laws will make companies liable if they don't scan and report user content for CSAM, which they can't do unless they break encryption. Apple will likely fold, as will many other companies, in order to protect themselves. EARN IT would thus coerce sites, platforms, and services to do this sort of scanning, not just on messages, but on practically all online content, encrypted or not.
Companies that handle online content would have to weigh the benefit to their users of securely encrypting their content against the legal risk of doing so, and encryption becomes a much harder ask when it might put a company's bottom line at risk.
All of the concerns around Apple's device scanning are magnified in the EARN It Act. Signal--one of the best examples of secure, private, end-to-end encrypted messaging--stated in 2020 that they may not be able to operate in the U.S. if EARN IT becomes law. But end-to-end encryption isn't just for messages--it secures much of the internet, keeping you and what you do online private and safe.
You can't have a secure internet where all its content is also screened, because you can't have end-to-end encryption alongside mass scanning requirements. This isn't just an attack on encryption--it's an attack on the fundamental security of the internet. As experts have said before, this sort of scanning is in direct conflict with privacy and security.
If EARN IT becomes law, what happens on your iPhone won't stay on your iPhone. It will be scanned by a government-approved tool like everything posted on Facebook. And what happens on your website, in your cloud backups, behind your DMs, and pretty much everywhere else online--will be right behind it.
Where are the Shepherds? - Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
The history of Israel found in Scripture is a very important study. We can see what worked out well for Israel, but we can also learn from mistakes. Israel is a nation which was chosen by God, but they didn’t always behave properly towards Him. When they rebelled against Him, they were judged, but when they walked in obedience to Him, they prospered. In Old Testament times, God chose certain men, known as prophets, to speak His words to His people. Prophets, like Ezekiel and Daniel, told exciting prophecies of what’s happening today. Among other things, Ezekiel told of dry bones coming together, which foretold that Israel would come back to life, and in Daniel, we read prophecies about the coming Messiah, the Tribulation, and much more. God had given His chosen people the land we now call Israel, and when they entered it under the leadership of Joshua, God blessed them. Israel was a nation intended to be under the authority of God; He gave them His Law, but they wanted a king like other nations. God gave them Saul, a man who proved to be an inferior king. Saul wasn’t the king God had desired for them, but is an example of running ahead of God with selfish desires. After King Saul committed suicide in battle, David became king. David was the one God had chosen and from his lineage the Messiah would be born.
David ruled well, but many years after David died, war divided the nation. The Northern Kingdom, known as Israel, turned to idolatry. They were ruled by very evil leaders, especially King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, who led the nation into idolatry. This didn’t surprise God, who had the prophet Hosea speak to the nation. God knew that it was the shepherds (the priests) who were to blame, not the sheep (the people). The priests allowed idolatry to invade the places of worship. Idolatry and worship of false gods would destroy the Northern Kingdom. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I also will reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me; seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I also will forget thy children.” Hosea 4:6. It was the religious leaders who didn’t stand firm upon God’s laws and allowed Ahab and Jezebel to force their pagan ways, including child sacrifice, upon the nation. God knew that if the shepherds had been true followers of the Lord and strong leaders of the people, evil wouldn’t have been an issue. History shows that the Northern Kingdom did fall; they were taken captive by the Assyrians. Allowing evil leaders to legalize sin and idolatry can only cause God to bring judgment.
The Southern Kingdom didn’t practice the level of idolatry that the Northern Kingdom did, but they did forsake God. Even a little idolatry is evil. These people didn’t learn from the mistakes of their northern brothers, and they neglected God’s law. Once again, God had a prophet speak to them and point out that it was the shepherds who allowed the sin. This time it was the prophet Jeremiah who spoke for God. “My people hath been lost sheep; their shepherds have caused them to go astray; they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.” Jeremiah 50:6. Jeremiah obeyed God and did all he could to turn the people and the religious leaders back to the right path of God, but his words weren’t heeded. Because they turned from God, the Southern Kingdom fell to the Babylonians. Once again, it was those who should have been standing upon God’s word and leading the people in His ways who were to blame. “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 23:1-2. Instead of following the Law, they began compromising and cutting corners. Soon God allow them to be taken captive to Babylon. History repeated itself. Those who should have stood strong for God, failed in their leadership.
The nation of Israel was created by God when He called Abram (Abraham) out of the pagan life that surrounded Him. “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:” Genesis 12:1. He had to leave all pagan ties behind in order to serve the Lord, and that’s true today. It may not be easy to break ties with family and friends, but if those ties hinder your walk with the Lord, they will stop you from serving Him. God further promised Abraham (Abram) that he would be the father of a great nation. “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 12:2-3. Indeed, in his old age, Abraham fathered Isaac, who in turn fathered Jacob (renamed Israel) who was the father of twelve sons…the 12 tribes of Israel. Israel became a great nation. In spite of struggles, the entire world is blessed because of Israel. Jesus Christ was born from the tribe of Judah, and anyone who places their faith in Him will have eternal life. Don’t get the idea that God has turned His back on His people, Israel. Other prophets of God spoke prophecies making it clear that Israel will be reunited and reestablished in their God-given land. That miraculous rebirth of the nation of Israel began in 1948. Since then, many, many prophecies regarding Israel have been fulfilled, and more are on the verge of fulfillment, as we watch Russian gaining military strength and nuclear power in the hands of Israel’s enemies. We are swiftly moving to the final stage of earth’s history, and it will take the Tribulation period to bring Israel around to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is their Messiah. He will fight their final battle. Of course, He wins. Prior to the Tribulation, Christians will be called Home in the Rapture. If you study prophecy, you’ll understand just how close we are to that long-awaited event. Does the shepherd of your congregation teach about that? If not, then you need to do your own study. Just as in the days of the Northern and Southern Kingdom, many shepherds of today are failing in their leadership. Christians are turning to pagan ways, such as Yoga. In the name of tolerance, pastors seldom speak out against sin, withhold Biblical knowledge, and false doctrine enters into congregations. Most pastors are happy to obey the pagan laws and keep silent on “controversial” issues, such as abortion and sexual diversity. God’s word isn’t silent, but pastors can’t run the risk of jeopardizing the tax-exempt status by speaking God’s truth and standing against evil. The shepherds of today seem to be the same as the shepherds of the Kingdoms of Israel.
Peter followed Christ, but when Christ was crucified, Peter hid. After the Resurrection, Jesus met with the disciples on the shores of Galilee and fed them a meal of fish and bread. After they ate, Jesus talked with Peter. “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.” John 21:15. Peter needed to feed the flock the word of God. Twice more, Jesus put that question to Peter, and told him “Feed my lambs” (John 21:16). Lambs need to learn to turn from the ways of the world and serve the Lord. “Feed my sheep” (John 21:17). Peter was not the first pope; he did obey Jesus and fed the flock. Sheep need to be fed on the deeper things of God to keep them strong and healthy. Many preachers today don’t get past feeding lambs. God’s words through Hosea were “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” Hosea 4:6a, and many pastors today are OK with that.
It’s a great calling for a man to be called as a preacher, but it’s a great responsibility. Scripture must be taught in truth and in its entirety. Line upon line and precept upon precept. Too many preachers teach the ideas of the particular denomination they serve, even if those ideas aren’t consistent with Scripture. When asked about the end of the age, Jesus warned about deception. “And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” Matthew 24:4. The shepherds need to feed truth to the flock, but the sheep need to study God’s word in order to be properly fed and to recognize false teachers.
What’s missing in our pulpits today? The Gospel truth. It seems more important to keep the pews and offering plates full than to feed healthy food from Scripture to the congregation. The Apostle Paul could have saved himself a lot of trouble if he would have compromised and tickled ears rather than spreading God’s truth. He chose straightforward truth. In his farewell talk with the elders of Ephesus, he had a clear conscience. “And now, behold I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” Acts 20:25-31. Paul was driven by the purpose of sharing the Gospel. If the shepherd of your flock is driven by any purpose other than Scriptural teaching of God’s truth, then he isn’t feeding the sheep with nutritious food. The Holy Spirit inspired the men who penned Scripture, but that’s not true of most of the books written by men. Paul declared the Gospel, and therefore had done what was asked of him. He didn’t use gimmicks to share the Gospel; he just spoke God’s truth. If people rejected it, at least Paul had declared it.
In his second epistle, Peter assures us that signs and wonders are nice, but the word of God in prophecy is a light that shines in the darkness. We need to learn from the past, and study Scripture. Remember it was the shepherds (the priests) who allowed the downfall of both Kingdoms of Israel. There were two kinds of prophets. God’s prophets are true prophets, “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” 2 Peter 2:1-3. Those blasphemers are working their evil today.
Jesus warned against false teaching, as did the men who wrote the epistles. If false teaching is coming from the pulpit, how can the flock know God’s truth? Study Scripture yourself. All Bibles are translations, but not all translations are true to the meaning of the original language. Use a good concordance in order to understand what the original language means. Jude wrote about contending for the faith, and spotting false teachers. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jude 3-4. Even when Jude was alive, there were false teachers who perverted Scripture. Many of the false prophets of today write books that become best sellers because they tickle ears. “Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.” Jude 8. I remember when I was researching a best selling author, I learned that one Thanksgiving he had his flock host a dinner where Muslims and Mormons were the honored guests, and were served with turkey and all the trimmings. Really? In his second letter, the Apostle John warned the “elect lady” not to invite anyone in that does not confess the doctrine of Christ. Muslims and Mormons agree that someone named Christ walked the earth, but they have far different doctrines than taught by Scripture. Jude also addresses this. “These are spots in your love feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees without fruit withereth, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” Jude 12-13. Beware of false teachers. even from your own pulpit.
The congregation in Corinth was being taught many false doctrines, and that concerned Paul. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is Christ. For if he that cometh preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” 2 Corinthians 11:3-4. Some false doctrines of today include: a different Jesus preached than what is found in Scripture, a different spirt than the Holy Spirit, and a different gospel than the Gospel of Truth. Mormons and Muslims may talk about Jesus, but they don’t worship Christ as God incarnate. Some shepherds promote “holy laughter’. That isn’t the Holy Spirit leading those poor deceived people. Christian Yoga? The same Old Serpent, Satan, who deceived Eve is deceiving many people today. Woe to the shepherds who lead the sheep down these paths.
If sound doctrine isn’t taught, deception will run rampant. Paul’s words to a young pastor named Timothy are important today. “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” 2 Timothy 4:2-3. The flock may want to feed on junk food, but woe to the shepherd who continually feeds them popcorn and chocolate. Unlike Paul who spoke God’s truth no matter what, many shepherds today will have the blood of the congregation on their hands because they won’t teach truth. As time goes on, things will get worse. Paul warned Timothy “But evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” 2 Timothy 3:13. Be careful who you follow.
God didn’t blame the sheep, but held the shepherds accountable for the fall of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel. What deception and idolatry are the shepherds feeding the flock today? “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men will be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3:1-7. We are living in the last days. Be a wise sheep even if the shepherd is a poor leader.
Where are the shepherds? Many are frolicking with the wolves. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Make it your goal to be a part of His flock.
God bless you all,
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Daily Jot: Self-fulfilling policy - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
Some believe the government has gotten so big and overreaching that it no longer represents the people, but rather its own self-interest. Alexis de Tocqueville, a French philosopher and author of “Democracy in America” in two volumes (1835, and 1840), wrote in Volume II about the vibrance of the American system of government and how the virtue and spirit of the American people made government and freedom work. In this second volume, he astutely described, however, how “democracies” fall into a tyrannical reign through years of deception and growth of government. Tocqueville described the resulting power of such a government toward its citizens as “soft tyranny.”
He wrote: “It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence: it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.” With dissent labeled “misinformation,” corporations beholden to the government narrative, and media motivated by agenda, soft tyranny may be more prevalent than ever in US history.
The Department of Homeland Security February 7 issued a National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin: “The United States remains in a heightened threat environment fueled by several factors, including an online environment filled with false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories, and other forms of mis- dis- and mal-information (MDM) introduced and/or amplified by foreign and domestic threat actors.” DHS says the threat hasn’t significantly changed over the last year, but there is increased volatility in three main areas: “(1) the proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine public trust in U.S. government institutions;
“(2) continued calls for violence directed at U.S. critical infrastructure; soft targets and mass gatherings; faith-based institutions, such as churches, synagogues, and mosques; institutions of higher education; racial and religious minorities; government facilities and personnel, including law enforcement and the military; the media; and perceived ideological opponents; and (3) calls by foreign terrorist organizations for attacks on the United States based on recent events.” The Government ‘s own policies on border security, protests that turn violent, police defunding, censorship of dissent, and mandates may be contributors to what DHS describes. Is this a warning about terrorism or to dissenting law-abiding citizens like parents questioning school board decisions? As Christ said in Matthew 24:4, “Take heed that no man deceive you.”
Daily Devotion: The Cure for Comparison - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach. —Mark 3:14
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/the-cure-for-comparison/ - Listen
Recently I watched a movie from my childhood about a military officer who recruited some prisoners for a special mission. This group was known as “the dirty dozen.”
The 12 apostles whom Jesus called were not the dirty dozen, but they were very ordinary men. We might even call them questionable hires. But Jesus hand selected each one, and they could not have been more different from one another.
In fact, as we look at them in the Scriptures, they might seem familiar to us. They’re probably like relatives we have. No doubt about it, these apostles were an eclectic bunch.
We also read of several occasions in the Gospels when Jesus specifically took Peter, James, and John with Him. For instance, they were with them at the Transfiguration. We know that He took them when He went to raise the daughter of Jairus from the dead and when He went to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane.
So, did Jesus take these three along because they were the more elite apostles? I have a different theory. Maybe the reason He kept them a little closer than everyone else was because He wanted to keep an eye on them.
One day Jesus revealed to Peter that he would be martyred for his faith. Peter immediately pivoted to John and said, “What about him, Lord?” (John 21:21 NLT).
Then Jesus gave an amazing response: “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me” (verse 22 NLT).
Maybe you’ve looked at someone else’s life and said, “Lord, why are they being blessed more than I’m being blessed? Why did this tragedy befall me? Why are these things happening?”
Here’s Christ’s response to you: “What is that to you? You just follow me.”
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