Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Paradox of a Righteous Lot - Pete Garcia - http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=8616
Most of us alive here in America tend to see the world with a western worldview. This worldview works fine for everyday life, but can cause the average western believer consternation when trying to make sense of certain parts of the Scriptures. All Scripture is giving by inspiration of God through the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 3:16), but what we fail to sometimes take into account, was that the men who physically wrote the Bible, were all from the Oriental world.
The Old Testament was written almost entirely in Hebrew and with a small portion in Aramaic. The New Testament was written entirely in Koinonia Greek (the common vernacular of the day). But it was Jewish men, who thought with a Hebraic mindset that wrote both Old and New Testaments. So when we modern westerners get to certain parts of the scriptures that seem to be paradoxical to each other, we often times get perplexed at the seeming contradictions.
However, to the Hebrew mind, opposing ideas could be equally accepted at the same time. Patterns that formed cycles were key to understanding the fullness of the entirety of the message. The Hebrew culture (like other eastern cultures) used what has been deemed, "block logic", and in Marvin Wilson's "Our Father Abraham-Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith", he makes some interesting points about the two:
The use of what may be termed block logic is another important contour of Hebrew thought. Greek logic, which has to a large extent influenced the Western world, was different. The Greeks often used a tightly contained step logic whereby one would argue from premises to a conclusion, each step linked tightly to the next in coherent, rational, logical fashion. The conclusion, however, was usually limited to one point of view-the human being's perception of reality
The Hebrew knew he did not know all the answers. His position was 'under the sun' (Ecc. 8:17), so his words were few (5:2). He refused to over-systematize or forced harmonization on the enigmas of God's truth or the puzzles of the universe. He realized that no one could straighten what God has made crooked (7:13). All things, therefore, did not need to be fully rational. The Hebrew mind was willing to accept the truths taught on both sides of the paradox; it recognized that mystery and apparent contradictions are often signs of the divine. Stated succinctly, the Hebrews knew the wisdom of learning to trust in matters that they could not fully understand."
In layman's terms, those influenced in western thought, i.e....the Greco-Roman world-view, understood things in a linear, logical manner. We try to apply logic to a problem in order to come up with the most logical solution. Applying this type of mental methodology to Bible prophecy, can often times frustrates the purpose, which then causes confusion. Marvin Wilson provides some excellent examples in which 'block logic' is used in Scriptures:
The book of Exodus says that Pharaoh hardened his heart, but it also says that God hardened it (Ex. 8:15; cf. 7:3). The prophets teach that God is both wrathful and merciful (Isa. 45:7; Hab. 3:2). The New Testament refers to [Yeshua] as the 'Lamb of God' and the 'Lion of the tribe of Judah' (Jn. 1:29, 36; Rev. 5:5). Hell is described as both 'blackest darkness' and the fiery lake' (Jude 13; Rev. 19:20). In terms of salvation, [Yeshua] said, 'whoever comes to me I will never drive away,' yet no one can come 'unless the Father draws him' (Jn. 6:37, 44). To find life you must lose it (Mt. 10:39). When you are weak, then you are strong (2 Cor. 12:10). The way up (exaltation) is the way down (humility) (Lk. 14:11). 'Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated' (Rom. 9:13; Mal. 1:3).
Block logic is the mindset, that one can accept two opposing ideas as both equally true... it all depends on whose perception one is looking through.
Old Testament Lot
Throughout the entirety of his account beginning in Genesis chapter 11, through chapter 19, Lot was always living in the shadow of his older cousin Abram (Abraham). When they arrived at Canaan, Abram gave him the choice cut of land and they parted ways. A little later on, some wicked kings kidnapped Lot and Abram had to come to the rescue. From there, the Lord and two angels visit Abraham and give him a heads up, that they were going to visit Sodom and Gomorrah, and then destroy it. Abraham, knowing Lot lived there, asked one of the most pivotal questions that sets the tone for the rest of the Scriptures: And Abraham came near and said, "Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Genesis 18:23
Two angels were dispatched to Sodom and Gomorrah, and there Lot met them at the gate. He persuaded them to come back to his house because he knew the kind of evil that would befall these visitors should they remain out in the open. However, this did not stop the men of the city from surrounding Lot's house and attempting to break down the door to get to them. Lot does what any "red-blooded father" would do...and he offers up his two daughters in exchange for these visitors safety. The outraged mob attempt to rush Lot and the visitors...
And they (the mob) said, "Stand back!" Then they said, "This one (Lot) came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them." So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door. But the men reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. And they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they became weary trying to find the door. Genesis 19:9-11
From there, the two visitors and Lot (with family in tow) depart the city early in the morning. Lot's wife looks back and is turned into a pillar of salt. Lot ends up in the mountains with his two daughters, and they get him drunk and seduce him so they could get impregnated. Impressed yet? Seems like Lot is always getting himself into some kind of precarious situation.
New Testament Lot
Lot is referenced twice in the New Testament; first in Luke 17, when Jesus referencing what the world will be like when He returns, pointing back to the wickedness of that time. The second mention is by the Apostle Peter. In addition, Peter gives three different examples of the punishment in which God had served in the past to curb the wickedness in the world: the fallen angels who left their first estate and copulated with human women, the wicked people in Noah's day, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in Lot's day...
...and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds) - 2 Peter 2:7-8
WHAT?! Did I miss something in the Genesis account? Three times, Peter was moved by the Holy Spirit to call this man Lot righteous. What did we see of this man's life and actions in the Old Testament that would warrant him being addressed as righteous now?
Remember that thing about 'block logic'? There is where our perception and God's see things differently.
Just turn on the news or read the Drudge Report, any given day and you can quickly see the awful wickedness that permeates in the day and age we live in. Lot's situation was just a tiny microcosm of what we experience today. Both news and travel have greatly increased (Dan 12:4), and we know what is going on in the world as it happens. Since bad news sells better than good news, we are inundated with as much of it as one can take.
Whether it is horrific crimes committed against the innocent, or wars, pestilence, famines, and corruption, you can be sure that no matter where you look, you do not have to look hard. For those of us who watch the signs of the times, it can make you weary and long for the Lord to return. Even now, we are being oppressed by the filthy conduct that is being pressed on us to accept as normal by the "civilized" world. The issues includes: drugs, gay marriage, abortion, anti-Christian propaganda, euthanasia, apostate and false religious movements, genetic engineering, and violence perpetrated against the Church in many parts of the world.
Is your soul tormented? If it is not, then your head is in the proverbial hole in the ground. Remember, we are tri-partite beings: body, soul, and spirit. Even though one is saved (revived spirit), our souls (the conscious) is being tested like never before. The floodgates of evil are being opened and we are getting just a taste of what is going to be turned loose during the Tribulation. Even now, we are weary and long to be home in heaven with our Savior.
For those who do not watch for the Lord's soon return, it is just business as usual. And that attitude often feeds the frustration many of us feel when sharing the gospel with urgency we know...with the apathetic or spiritually blinded who don't know how close to the end we really are, nor do they want to know.
The Pattern and the Plan
According to the Strong's Lexicon, Lot's name in Hebrew means "Covering" and since he had to be removed prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, we too will be removed prior to the Wrath of God being poured out on this world. As the body of Christ on earth, we are inhabited and sealed by the Holy Spirit, overcomers chosen by God before the foundation of the world ever came to be (Eph 1:4).
[The Plan] At the Rapture, the Holy Spirit's ministry of restraint will be removed, and the wrath of God will be poured out on a Christ rejecting world. Just as when the covering (Lot) was removed from Sodom, God's wrath was subsequently poured out on the plains cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Again, when the Church is removed (along with the Restrainer), then the wrath will be poured out via the opening of the Seal Judgments by Christ. This pattern of warning and removing the righteous before God acts is repeated throughout Scriptures. God does not destroy the righteous with the wicked [The Pattern].
Although we do not see much righteousness in Lot's testimony in the Old Testament, God did. In fact, most of the OT patriarchs were not "righteous" by their own standards. Both Abraham failed to trust in God's provision by moving to Egypt. Moses and David were murderers. David also committed adultery. We see the OT saints in the Old Testament, warts and all. However, when we see them mentioned in the New, they are viewed as righteous (Hebrews 11).
Although we do not have much to brag about ourselves, God sees us as righteous, not because of our own efforts, but solely through the shed blood of His Son on the cross of Calvary. It may not always make sense to us, but it does to God. And I love it when God's plan comes together!
Famous rabbi sees Trump rebuilding Temple -
Sees it as 'final, historic reparation for his entire nation'
Donald Trump might not be the most popular person inside the beltway, in California, on U.S. college campuses or in the American media, but his support is growing in Israel, with one prominent rabbi saying he believes the president is destined to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple before the coming of the Messiah.
Rabbi Yosef Berger, the son of a widely revered Hasidic leader in charge of King David's Tomb on Mount Zion, told Breaking Israel News Trump will play this "final historic reparation for his entire nation."
"No leader in history has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the Jews and Israel," Berger said. "[Trump] has already created a great tikkun (reparation) for the Christians through his unprecedented relationship with Jerusalem. Trump is the representative of Edom that will perform that final historic reparation for his entire nation by building the Temple."
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Edom is an ancient adversary of Israel, founded by Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, whose name was later changed to Israel, according to Genesis. As the slightly older brother of Jacob, Esau famously rejected his birthright for a mess of pottage or stew when he was famished after a hunting excursion. Some ancient rabbis saw Edom as a spiritual progenitor of Christians.
Meanwhile, Trump mania runs strong throughout Israel, according to public polls.
Public opinion surveys show Trump approved by 65 percent or more of Israelis, who seldom form such strong consensus about politicians - foreign or domestic.
Berger cited a medieval rabbinical source that predicted that while the first two temples were built by Israel, the third would be built by the "descendants of Edom," a phrase that in some later rabbinical literature is used as a euphemism for the Christian world.
The Temple in Jerusalem was believed by most archaeologists to have been located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque, yet the most important religious site in all of Judaism. The rebuilding of the Temple is associated by many Jews and Christians with a coming messianic age - for Jews, who don't believe the Messiah has come, and Christians, who believe He came as Jesus of Nazareth and will return to restore Israel to glory, along with the rest of the world.
Palestinians: A March to Destroy Israel - by Bassam Tawil -
On March 30, an attempt by tens of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to infiltrate the border with Israel launched a six-week campaign of mass protests -- called the "March of Return" -- organized by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other radical Palestinian groups.
The groups encouraged Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to head to the areas adjacent to the border with Israel. The protesters were also encouraged to try to infiltrate the border, thus putting their lives at risk.
Hamas and its allies told the protesters that the "March of Return" marked the beginning of the "liberation of all of Palestine, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River." In other words, the Palestinians were told that infiltrating the border with Israel would be the first step toward destroying Israel.
Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Yehya Sinwar, who joined the March 30 mass protests along the border with Israel, did not hide the real goal behind the "March of Return" -- to destroy Israel and thwart US President Donald Trump's yet-to-be-announced plan for peace in the Middle East.
The two Hamas leaders told the protesters that the March 30 demonstrations marked the beginning of a "new phase in the Palestinians' national struggle on the road to liberating all of Palestine, from the river to the sea." Haniyeh and Sinwar also made it clear that the "March of Return" had another goal: to foil any attempt by the Arabs to make peace or normalize their relations with Israel.
Based on statements made by Hamas leaders, the "March of Return" campaign is not about improving the living conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Nor is it about finding ways to solve the "humanitarian" and "economic" crises in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas and its allies did not send the protesters to the border with Israel to demand jobs and medicine. They did not encourage Palestinians to risk their lives at the border with Israel because of the lack of electricity supplies to the Gaza Strip.
Instead, the organizers sent the Palestinians to the border after assuring them that this was the only way to flood Israel with hundreds of thousands of Palestinian "refugees" as part of the "right of return." The "right of return" refers to the Palestinian demand that Israel allow Palestinian "refugees" and their descendants to move to Israel.
As Zaher Birawi, one of the organizers of the "March of Return" explained, "The right of return is sacred and a red line not to be crossed. The Palestinians will do their utmost to achieve this right."
His words, together with those of the two Hamas leaders, prove that the mass protests are aimed at forcing Israel to accept millions of Palestinian "refugees" as a first step towards turning Jews into a minority in their own country. The next step would be to kill or expel the Jews and replace Israel with an Islamic state.
Crucial here is the fact that what we witnessed along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel on March 30 was not a protest by poverty-stricken and miserable Palestinians against a blockade of any kind.
If that were so, why didn't the organizers ask Palestinians to march toward the border with Egypt? The real blockade on the Gaza Strip is being imposed by Egypt, and not Israel.
In 2017, the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip was open altogether for less than 30 days; by contrast, the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip was open for more than 280 days during the same year.
Israel enforces a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip that is meant to prevent Iran, Hezbollah and other terror parties from smuggling weapons into the coastal enclave controlled by Hamas. At the same time, Israel has kept its border crossings with Gaza for the movement of goods and individuals.
Israel permits Palestinians to enter and leave the Gaza Strip through the Erez border crossing. Last month, the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister entered the Gaza Strip through the Erez border crossing, only to have his convoy targeted by a roadside bomb once inside Hamas-controlled Gaza. Israel also allows foreigners to enter the Gaza Strip through the same border crossing. They include journalists, diplomats, and hundreds of foreigners working for various international aid agencies, including the United Nations.
All this while the Rafah border crossing with Egypt remains closed. Since the beginning of this year, the Egyptians opened the border crossing intermittently only for two or three days each time. Egypt also continues to bar foreigners from entering the Gaza Strip through the Rafah terminal. Even Arabs who want to help the people of the Gaza Strip are forced to enter through the Erez border crossing because the Egyptians do not give them permission to use the Rafah terminal.
Take, for example, the Qatari envoy to the Gaza Strip, Ambassador Mohammed Al Emadi. Each time he leaves and enters the Gaza Strip, he uses the Erez border crossing with Israel. The Egyptians will not allow him or any other Arab seeking to help the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to enter through the Rafah terminal.
Given this reality, the question is: Why aren't the Palestinian protests directed against Egypt? The answer is obvious.
The Palestinians know that messing with the Egyptian army will cost them a heavy price. If Israel used snipers to stop the March 30 protesters from crossing the border, the Egyptian response would undoubtedly have been much tougher. The Egyptians would have used artillery and warplanes against the Palestinian demonstrators. The Palestinians are well aware that the Egyptian army would raze the entire Gaza Strip if the Palestinians breached the border and undermined Egypt's national security.
Besides, the "March of Return" is intended as part of the Palestinian national struggle against the "Zionist entity" -- Israel -- and has nothing to do with the closure of any border.
It is part of the Palestinian jihad (holy war) to eliminate Israel, which they see as a "colonialist project" imposed on the Arabs by Western powers after World War II. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in a rare moment of honesty, admitted earlier this year that this is precisely how Palestinians and Arabs perceive Israel.
The organizers of the "March of Return" have made it clear that besides flooding Israel with millions of Palestinian "refugees," the campaign has two other objectives: to foil Trump's "deal of the century" and stop any form of Arab normalization with Israel.
The Palestinians have proclaimed a wholesale rejection of Trump's plan because they know it will not advance their goal of turning Jews into a minority in their own country. Trump's plan, they believe, does not recognize the Palestinian "right of return," which means that "refugees" and their descendants will not be allowed to move into Israel, turning it into an Arab-majority state.
The organizers of the "March of Return" have clearly stated that this is a driving force behind the mass protests -- to send a message to the Trump administration that Palestinians will not accept any deal that does not facilitate their dream of replacing Israel with an Arab Islamic state.
The "March of Return" is also aimed at sending a warning to the Palestinian Authority and the Arab countries not to make any concessions to Israel or collaborate with the Trump administration.
Again, this is not what political analysts are saying. Instead, these are the exact words and phrases used by the organizers of the event. Their ultimate goal: to prevent Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority from returning to the negotiating table with Israel and to threaten Arab countries not to sign peace agreements with Israel.
Now, the organizers are telling us that the "March of Return" will continue and reach its peak in mid-May, on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Israel.
The "March of Return" is yet another phase in the Palestinian attempt to wipe out the presence of Israel in the Middle East, not about any blockade. The "March of Return" is an anti-peace campaign designed to thwart any attempt to achieve peace between Israel and the Arab countries.
The leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the other groups that organized the mass protests are now complaining about the high death toll and accusing Israel of opening fire at "unarmed and peaceful" protesters. These are the same leaders who urged their people to head to the border with Israel and to try to force their way into Israel. These are the same leaders who encouraged their people to damage the security fence along the border with Israel. Did they expect the Israeli soldiers to greet them with flowers?
As for Mahmoud Abbas, he has supplied yet more proof of his towering hypocrisy. Hours after the violent confrontations along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, Abbas appeared on Palestine TV to hold Israel "fully responsible" for the violence and death and injury of the protesters.
This is the same Abbas who recently told us that Hamas was a terror group that was behind the March 13 botched assassination attempt on his prime minister. This is the same Abbas who last year imposed sanctions on the Gaza Strip by suspending payments for electricity supplied to the Gaza Strip by Israel and suspending payments to thousands of civil servants there. Instead of condemning Hamas for sending the Palestinians to clash with the Israeli army and endanger their lives, Abbas chose to denounce Israel for protecting its border.
The Palestinian "March of Return" is being mistakenly referred to by some journalists and political analysts as a "peaceful and popular" drive by Palestinians demanding freedom and better living conditions.
Palestinians' living conditions in the Gaza Strip could be improved if the Egyptians only opened the Rafah border crossing and allowed Palestinians to leave and allowed Arabs and others to come and help the people there. Their lives could be improved if Hamas stopped building terror tunnels and smuggling weapons.
But, as has become evident by now, the "March of Return" is nothing but a declaration of war on Israel and the Trump administration.
Flood Warning - By Daymond Duck -
The angel Gabriel told Daniel the end "shall be with a flood" (Dan. 9:26). A flood is often preceded by clouds. The clouds of wars and rumors of wars, world government, Israel's rebuilt Temple, an economic collapse and more are on the horizon. They will be followed by a flood. The only question is timing.
Concerning wars and rumors of wars, in his Update 16 March 2018 report, Sean Osborne (retired military man and prophecy expert) said, "The war rhetoric is as high as Eschatology Today has ever seen it over the past three or four decades."
Israel recently admitted that she bombed a nuclear reactor in Syria in 2007. When asked why Israel admitted it after more than ten years of censorship, Israel's Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said, "It is the message to our enemies in both the near and distant future."
Put another way: Israel's admission that she bombed a nuclear reactor in Syria is a warning that she will bomb a nuclear reactor in Iran if she has to.
That is as serious as a rattlesnake bite, but the rhetoric from Israel is just part of the story.
Another part concerns a meeting at the White House of officials from the U.S., Saudi Arabia and the UAE. They established a Supreme Committee to coordinate their diplomatic and military efforts to stop Iran from making nuclear weapons and to make sure that they are ready militarily if Iran responds with violence.
Yet another part concerns the fact that the U.S. has just upped its aid to Israel's missile defense program to $705 million in 2018. This record-breaking sum is being given because of the growing threat of war in Israel.
Concerning world government, the very popular speaker of Hungary's National Assembly, Laszlo Kover, recently told the Hungarian people, "Our biggest battle is about to begin."
That is an ominous statement considering the fact that Hitler's Germany occupied Hungary during WW II, and about 300,000 Hungarian soldiers and more than 600,000 civilians died during that war.
But Mr. Kover is right; two thirds to three fourths of those on earth will die when the Antichrist is handed the reins of a world government during the Tribulation Period.
With regard to the efforts of George Soros and others to enslave the Hungarian people under a world government, Mr. Kover said, "We are fighting an enemy that is different from us. Not open but hiding; not straightforward but crafty; not honest but base; not national but international; does not believe in working but speculates with money; does not have its own homeland but feels it owns the whole world."
Wake up America! Pres. Trump is trying to stop world government. But Mr. Soros is trying to accelerate it, and he is not willing to stop at Hungary's border. He is buying swampy politicians in the U.S. too.
Concerning Israel's rebuilt Temple, 23 members of the Jewish Sanhedrin have signed a letter to the Arab religious leaders. The Jewish leaders hope to get all 71 members of the Sanhedrin to sign their letter, and it says, "The time has come to rebuild the Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem in its ancient place."
The writer of this article believes it will be the Antichrist that gives the Jews permission to rebuild the Temple, not the Arabs, and it will be early in the Tribulation Period, not before the Rapture.
Nevertheless, we should not overlook who is planning to send this letter (the Sanhedrin) and what it says about the time (now) and the place (the Temple Mount in Jerusalem) for a rebuilt Temple.
Concerning an economic collapse, with less than 1 day to read a 2,232-page spending bill, the U.S. House and Senate approved a $1.3 trillion spending spree.
America's national debt is now over $21 trillion and going up like a rocket (see www.usdebtclock.org). It will probably be more than $174,000 per taxpayer by the time this article is posted.
No nation has ever owed so much in the history of the world; and few, if any, believe the U.S. will ever be able to get out of debt.
When America goes down, the whole world will go down with it.
Prophecy Plus Ministries, Inc.
Daymond & Rachel Duck
Watchman Report: Great Questions - By Hal Lindsey -
From the far reaches of history past, humans have looked into the heavens and wondered. How did this come to be? What accident or intelligence laid out the intricate designs? We searched for clues by looking at our own reflections. What is this thing I call "me"? Is there a purpose to my existence? How is it that I think and have consciousness? How am I able to consider these questions?
For most of history, most of humanity has concluded that some kind of Intelligence stands back of it all. Also, most people believe in human significance - that our lives have meaning and purpose. But they can't always say why.
Through the centuries, God gave evidence of His existence. He performed supernatural wonders - like parting the Red Sea. A couple of million people saw it, but it happened a long time ago, so not everyone's convinced.
More importantly, God spoke through prophets. Many of those prophecies are self-validating. In other words, the prophets said things that only God could know. The prophecies about the coming Messiah and their fulfillment in Jesus are, to me, the most amazing.
If you're someone who wants to see things for yourself, you can be glad that you're living in an era of prophecy being fulfilled. We see things every week (sometimes several a day) that fulfill the words of ancient prophets who could not possibly have known about nuclear weapons, the intricacies of today's geo-political scene, or the implications of modern technology.
The very immensity of the universe, or multiverse, seems to be more than the human mind can fathom. Answers to the great questions seem beyond our reach. But what if the Creator of all things chose to come to us with the answers? And what if He used fulfilled prophecy to prove that the message is from Him? That's the amazing truth at the heart of the Bible.
When people contemplate the great questions, it seems counterintuitive that the answers may be found in the church down the street, or the Bible on the shelf. The problem is that we know those people who attend that church, or others like them. We see their flaws and shortcomings. How can they possess answers the finest minds on the planet grapple with and declare unanswerable?
Some of the flawed humans who fill that nearby church know Jesus personally. If so, then they have the Answer.
He came into the world claiming to be the long-awaited Messiah. Using the ancient prophetic words (Isaiah 53), He showed that the Messiah must suffer and die (Luke 9:22). Even more startling, He showed that Messiah, in addition to His humanity, must also be God (Matthew 22:41-45). He depicted one God who exists in three Persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (John 10:30, Matthew 28:19). He said that the Son would die for the sins of the world (John 3:15, Matthew 20:28, Matthew 26:28).
But He also said that His death would not be His end. He would rise again (Mark 9:31). And He did! (Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-20; Luke 24:1-53; and John 20:1-21:25) His resurrection stands as proof of all His claims.
So, how do we know He really rose from the dead? Countless volumes have been written on the subject, but let me give you a couple things to think about. Over 500 people still living during the early part of the New Testament, saw Jesus alive after being crucified (1 Corinthians 15:5-7). They include many people we know by name.
And they acted just like you would expect. We know from the historical record that they went everywhere telling what they had seen. Many of them faced death because of their testimony, but they chose to die rather than to recant. Of the Lord's closest disciples, all died as martyrs except John. And we know that John faced much persecution and pain for his devotion to Christ. To live and not suffer, all they would have had to do was say the resurrection was not true.
Both the Roman civil authorities and the Jewish religious authorities needed to prove that Jesus was dead. They couldn't do it. The tomb was empty. It's still empty.
But Jesus is more than Someone who rose from the dead. He is resurrection itself. In John 11:25-26, Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die." (NASB)
If you know Jesus, you can look up at the night sky as a friend of the Designer and Maker of the universe.
John 1:1-4 says, "In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." (NKJV)
If you don't know Jesus, He's right there waiting. In Revelation 3:20, He said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me." (NASB)
The door in the Lord's illustration represents your desire and will. You open the door by inviting Jesus Christ into your life. At this moment, in your own way, thank Jesus for dying for your sins. Invite Him to come into your heart.
Do that, and this Sunday you can celebrate, not just His resurrection - but yours.
Daily Jot: Prophetic exhortation to never give up - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
As we look at the current events in our country and around the world, there is so much in the news that is discouraging--that indicates America continues on its vector away from the Lord. Some say they are just waiting for the rapture. They want to go home. Others are discouraged that what they are doing has no impact. In any case, you must understand that we as Christians have a mission and a purpose. I have been writing The Daily Jot for going on 17 years. The state of the world has steadily declined and will continue to do so. Followers of Christ, take heart. We are to overcome evil with good and not grow weary in doing it.
Every phone call you make. Every letter you write. Every email you send. Every word you speak. Be encouraged. The Lord said in Isaiah 55:10-12, "For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not thither, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."
Neither be offended. The Lord says in Ezekiel 3:17-19, "When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and you give him not warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul." No matter how long, no matter how difficult things become, do what the Lord tells you to do. As you do these things unto the Lord, you have made a transfer, so to speak, from yourself to others. It is now on them to act responsibly with the information. You have done your part.
God sent his only begotten Son to die on the cross for our sins that we might have life everlasting. It's up to us to share the many facets of living out our salvation. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 exhorts: "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." Keep going. Keep doing. You never know when your action may be that last full measure needed to advance God's plan. Never give up.
Daily Devotion: Get Your Feet Wet - By Greg Laurie -
"Give this command to the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: 'When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river and stop there.'" -Joshua 3:8
A formidable barrier lay between the new generation of Israelites and the Promised Land, and it was called the Jordan River. Granted, it wasn't as big as the Red Sea, but it was still powerful enough-enough to keep them out. So the Lord did a special miracle just for them: He parted the waters.
What I find interesting is that God had instructed the priests to step into the river while it was still moving. The waters didn't open up until they got their feet wet.
Sometimes God will say, "Take this little step of faith. You have to first get your feet wet." It doesn't happen right in front of you; you must be willing to take that risk.
What God wants to do in our lives often seems upside down, in so many ways, from how we might expect Him to do things. But God tells us in Isaiah, "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts. . . . And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine" (55:8 NLT). God intentionally changes His methods so we will continually look to Him.
If you want success in your marriage, your ministry, your business, or in whatever you're doing, here's what God says you should do: "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need" (Matthew 6:33 NLT).
I know people who have been chasing success their entire lives and never have found it. They are always looking for an angle that will propel them to the top. Then I know others who have simply followed the Lord, lived honest and godly lives, and worked hard with integrity, and God has blessed them in many ways. Seek God first, and He will give you everything you need.
FROM THE HEART
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